From Uche Usim, Abuja and Merit Ibe
A giant step towards boosting local fertiliser production was taken in Morocco on Wednesday, as the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) signed agreements with an offshore firm, OCP of Morocco, Akwa Ibom State Government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria, (GACN), the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mobil and Fertilizer Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) for the development of a $1.4 billion plant to produce ammonia and diammonium phosphate, under Nigeria’s Gas Industrialisation Strategy initiative.
The multi-billion naira project will be sited in Akwa Ibom State due to its huge gas reserves.
The first phase of the Project will produce 1.5 million tonnes per annum of Ammonia in two phases. About 70 per cent of the Ammonia produced will be allocated for export to Morocco and the balance will be routed to the production of 1 million tonnes per annum of Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP) and NPK fertilisers to feed domestic market.
In the first phase of the project, about $1.4billion will be invested in building the plant and its supporting infrastructure with operations-expected to commence in 2025.
Speaking on the development, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and Head of the Nigerian delegation, Mr Timipre Sylva, assured stakeholders of President Buhari’s commitment to the actualisation of the project. “He has mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and all its agencies to give maximum support to this project.”
In his welcome remarks, the Chairman of OCP, Dr. Terrab Terrab said: “Ultimately, these agreements will strengthen the partnership between the NSIA and OCP Group and the different institutions in the gas industry in Nigeria. The outcome of today’s agreements will translate to knowledge transfer and broader economic opportunities as we build out the industrial platform. The platform will leverage the best of Nigerian and Moroccan natural resources, namely the Nigerian gas and the Moroccan phosphate and create a new basis for stronger ties”.
Also commenting on the deals, the Managing Director of NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji, said the project forms a key part of NSIA’s gas industrialisation strategy and will deepen intra-continental trade, which is essential to Africa’s development and economic renaissance.
“This landmark project, the MIP, will explore increased levels of synergy between NSIA and OCP and the partners to the transactions and ultimately ensure that Nigeria builds an industrial base that is sustainable and complimentary to mutual objectives of developing the agriculture sector in Nigeria”.