Nigeria and Morocco on Tuesday, March 5, 2021, signed five memoranda of understanding (MoU) with parties including OCP Group, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The agreements will strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries and foster development in the areas of agriculture, hydrocarbons and commerce.
The MoUs were signed in line with the second phase of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative towards the creation of an NNPC equity investment in support of the gas industry, and the establishment of a planned multipurpose industrial platform for gas sales and aggregation in Nigeria.
The signing ceremony was held in Marrakech, Morocco, and was attended by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Hon. Timipre Sylva, and the CEO of OCP Africa, Anouar Jamali. Also in attendance were the governor of Akwa Ibom state, Hon. Udom Emmanuel; the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Kesiye Wabote; the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari; Governor of Jigawa State, Hon. Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar; and Managing Director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji.
As a result of the deal, Nigeria is expected to import phosphate from Morocco and produce blended fertilizer and ammonia for the Nigerian market and for export. Plans are underway to set up an ammonia processing plant in Akwa Ibom state.
Minister Sylva noted that the collaboration — backed by the Nigerian president — while positively impacting agriculture and the oil and gas industry of Nigeria and Morocco, will ensure that economic opportunities between the two countries are widened, and will improve the living conditions of its people as well as provide jobs.
“He [President Muhammadu Buhari] mandated me to ensure that at least the first phase of this project is commissioned before the expiration of his second term in office in 2023,” the minister said.
Wabote lauded the bilateral deal, noting its significance to the Nigerian economy and the role of the ammonia plant in accelerating the country’s gas monetization program. He urged both countries to speed up the signing of the final investment decision for the plant.
He spoke of the need “to determine manpower needs for construction and operations phase of the project and develop training programs that will create the workforce pool from Nigeria and Morocco and design collaboration framework between Research centres in Nigeria and Morocco to develop technology solutions for maintaining the ISBL and OSBL units of the Ammonia complex.”
Governor Udom Emmanuel also showed certainty in his state being a good choice for the Ammonia project since Akwa Ibom controls 36% of Nigeria’s gas reserves.