Nigerian, Iranian Presidents Discuss Oil Cooperation
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Iranian President Mohammed Khatami met briefly in Tehran on January 10th as part of a “brotherly” visit. Obasanjo said that: “We are here as a brother visiting a brother.
When two brothers meet, they have a lot to discuss.” Nigerian officials had indicated that the talks would cover international oil prices, with the two leaders discussing how “to ensure that crude prices remain at an acceptable level throughout this year.”
A Nigerian presidential spokesman had said that Nigeria and Iran would ink a trade agreement covering the oil sector, but Iranian officials present at the meeting declined to say whether any deal had been reached.
Iran has expressed interest in converting a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) into a formal agreement, and NNPC Managing Director Jackson Gauis-Obaseki is reportedly among the officials traveling with Obasanjo to Tehran.
Nigeria had in December 2000 signed a cooperation accord with Venezuela focusing on the Latin American country’s involvement in the Nigerian downstream oil sector.
Nigeria has been eager to revamp its oil sector and, in particular, its refinery network.
An official statement released on January 10th indicated that the government had sacked the management of the supervisory Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
The statement said that: “The reorganization in this sector is an ongoing exercise which is aimed at enhancing efficiency.”
The DPR and NNPC had been at odds over who is responsible for the shortfall of refined products at the country’s four domestic refineries, which have been routinely producing well below capacity, forcing the West African state to rely on costly imports.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)