India seeks more oil, enhanced economic ties with Nigeria

March 16th, 2011 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) India has sought more crude oil from Nigeria, as also higher stake for its state-run oil firms in the hydrocarbon assets of the African nation while pushing for enhanced economic ties.

This was conveyed to Nigerian Foreign Minister H. Odein Ajumogobia by Indian Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma in separate meetings here Wednesday.

Reddy told the minister that India’s annual requirement of Nigerian crude oil would be around 18 million tonnes, as opposed to some 13.2 million tonnes of crude oil imports from the country in 2009-10.

“We are also interested in tying up liquefied natural gas from Nigeria immediately as our requirement is projected to go up by 12-15 million tonnes per annum in the near future,” Reddy told the visiting minister.

Reddy also offered technical assistance from India’s state-run oil enterprises to the Nigerian counterparts in areas related to refining, pipelines, marketing and research and development.

Ajumogobia, who met Sharma earlier, indicated that his government was considering to dilute a part of its stake in the state-run natural gas firm and that Gail India was being considered one of the parties.

Officials said Gail India was also interested in petrochemical and city gas projects in Nigeria and was pursuing its participation in the Nigerian gas master plan project, for which a proposal had been submitted to the authorities.

Ajumogobia is also here to attend the 5th session of the India-Nigeria Joint Commission, which he co-chairs with Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, amid growing trade, economic and diplomatic ties between the world’s largest and Africa’s biggest democracies.

According to official data, India’s trade with Nigeria grew over 50 percent during the first half of this fiscal, with the two-way merchandise import and export set to cross $12 billion.

Indian investments have also risen in Nigeria, estimated at $5 billion.

Minister Sharma told the visiting minister that in view of the potential for economic engagement between the two countries, they must push for the early conclusion of the proposed bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement.

“The complementarities of Nigerian and Indian economies needs to be harnessed for more extensive bilateral engagement,” Sharma said, adding more Indian companies were keenly pursuing interests in areas such as power and petroleum.

He said there were over 100 Indian companies in Nigeria mainly in telecom, hydrocarbons, textiles, chemicals, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, plastics, software and auto sectors.

Indian automobile companies have significant presence in Nigeria, he added.

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