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NNPC targets European gas market

By The Citizen
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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has said that it is looking for more markets for the nation's gas on the European continent.

The move, it said, was meant to generate maximum economic benefits from Nigeria's enormous gas resources.

In a statement from the corporation on Sunday, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, disclosed this while playing host to a Belgian business delegation under the auspices of the Flanders Investment and Trade Mission in his office.

'Europe is a good market for gas. Incidentally, Belgium has important terminals such as the Port of Antwerp through which Nigeria hopes to get its gas to the rest of Europe. We'll start marketing our abundant gas resources to Europe,' Yakubu said.

The GMD who was represented by the Coordinator, Corporate Policy and Strategy, Dr. Tim Okon, said the NNPC would strategically position itself to attract investments to boost the nation's economy, adding that 'gas is a strong mechanism for not only power generation and job creation, but also for growth and development.

He reiterated the need for collaboration between foreign investors and Nigerian businesses in order to domesticate the gas industry in the country.

The leader of the delegation and the Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dirk Verleyen, according to the statement, said that no fewer than 60 Belgian companies had indicated interest to invest in Nigeria.

He said Belgian companies wishing to invest in Nigeria cut across various sectors such as energy, telecommunications, construction, transport, postal service, entertainment, engineering and agriculture.

The President of the Port of Antwerp and the Deputy Mayor of Antwerp, Mark van Peel, said the trade volume between Belgium and Nigeria was higher than most people knew.

'Our country is the third largest European exporter to Nigeria with a total export figure of almost €2bn a year,' van Peel said.

The statement noted that the business delegation particularly showed interest in building the capacity of staff of the nation's refineries and other oil and gas installations in the area of safety of equipment.

The Flanders Investment and Trade Mission is the Belgian government's agency supporting home-based companies doing business abroad and foreign companies looking to set up or expand operations in Flanders.