Chinese businessmen to invest $ 7 bn in Nigeria

Jul 08, 2004 02:00 AM

The Federal Government's quest for Direct Foreign Investment (FDI) into the nation's economy might have scored a major hit, as a group of Chinese businessmen are planning to set up projects worth about $ 7 bn in Nigeria.
Emerging details of the trade visit by the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation, otherwise known as Sinosure, to the country, revealed that the Chinese investment would be in the area of power generation, crude oil and exploration, coal processing, setting up of an export refinery and a petrochemical plant as well as in agriculture.

The Federal Government has set up a 15-member steering committee to work out modalities for seeing the proposed projects through. The committee is headed by Special Adviser to the President on Manufacturing and Private Sector, Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmed. Other members are drawn from both the public and private sectors and they include the Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum, Dr Edmund Daukoru, and four other ministers.
Sinosure, the export credit agency of China, was during the visit to Nigeria led by its Executive Vice President, Dr Liang Zhidong. The delegation met with President Olusegun Obasanjo at the State House, Abuja.

It was gathered that the Chinese investors would specifically be pumping $ 1.5 bn into the development of a Nigerian continental shelf oil block, OPL 229. The block is jointly owned by two indigenous oil firms, Emerald Energy Resources and Amni International Petroleum.
The plan also includes the setting up of an export refinery with a processing capacity of about 180,000 bpd, and the construction of a petrochemical plant by a company known as SinoLink Hydrocarbon Technologies.

Officials said the oil exploration and refinery projects formed a key strategy for China to meet its rising energy demand.
"As Chinese Export and Credit Agency, Sinosure is firmly committed to guarantee the financial funding required for the total development of the OPL 229," said an official, who added that "the plan is to produce the crude in Nigeria, refine it in the country and ship directly to China to meet the upsurge in fuel demand."

The first well in OPL 229 is billed to be drilled in November this year, while production is expected to commence late next year. It was gathered that the Chinese investors were already holding talks on the proposed projects with Emerald Energy, Diamond Bank and Africa Resources Development Company (ARDCO).
Obasanjo had told the Sinosure delegation that Nigeria placed high premium on its relations with China, and that given its size and commitment to technological advancement, economic ties with China would be of mutual benefit to both countries.

Source: This Day
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