By Cecilia Ijuo
The Senate said on Thursday that it had began talks with Russian oil companies for partnership to develop Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Disclosing this in an interview with newsmen in St. Petersburg, Russia, Chairman, Senate Committee on Oil and Gas, Sen. Bassey Akpan, said it was time Nigeria sought support to further develop the sector.
Akpan is part of President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki’s delegation to the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Russia, who met with the oil firms.
“We came here as part of the delegation of the Senate to consult with the Russians as regards development of Nigerian oil and gas.
“You are aware we are working on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and I can confirm to you that they are very much interested in partnering Nigeria as regards development of oil and gas.
“One thing the visit has endeared in us is that the country has so much potential.
“It also has a lot in common with Nigeria and partnering a country such as this will, be to the greater benefit of the Nigeria oil and gas industry,’’ he said.
In a separate interview, Sen. Tayo Alasoadura, said from discussions with the companies, there was hope that in the near future, there would be a boost in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
He said, “We have been trying to see how we can get the Russians to do business with Nigeria.
“We discussed opportunities that are available in oil and gas, solar, agriculture and energy with them.’’
On his part, Sen. Kabiru Marafa, said one of the high points of the meeting was discussions on developing the oil and gas for domestic consumption beyond export.
“You know Russia is the largest gas producer and sometime in June this year, their major company that is like NNPC visited the National Assembly.
“They promised to invite us to Russia to see what they do and it incidentally coincided with the IPU. So, we were here two days before the IPU started.
“The meetings were quite fruitful and we are looking for how we can partner them to provide gas for power and not gas for export.
“We are working with them to know how we can use our gas reserve in that direction.’’
Marafa said that making such negotiations work would boost the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. (NAN)