The Foreign Minister qualifies his words and limits the Government’s economic support for development cooperation mechanisms
The second day of the West African tour of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Jose Manuel Albaresbegan in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria to which the head of Spanish diplomacy arrived on Wednesday night after spending the day in Niamey. It should be remembered that Nigeria is a strategic partner for Spain, as it is the leading oil producer in Africa and the leading supplier of crude oil to Spain, as well as the third largest supplier of gas. That is why the minister assured that if the desire of Spanish companies is to obtain more contracts, “the Spanish Government is willing to accompany them and explore all kinds of support, including financial“.
Albares made these statements in the first meeting of the morning that he held with his counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama. However, in the afternoon he qualified his words, assuring after a meeting with the Nigerian Minister of Energy in which they participated representatives of Naturgy, Repsol and Cepsa, that there had been “a small misunderstanding, when we talk about financing we are talking about financing through development cooperation for projects in the energy sector in Nigeria as well as in the framework, above all, of ECOWAS,” he told the press conference in the one who insisted: “I specify my statement this morning, the fact that the companies have accompanied me on this trip shows the support they have from Spain and the importance that Spain gives to the energy sector and to the companies”. Next, Albares has recalled: “I am the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation”.
With this change in the will of the Government towards the oil companies, Albares ended his day in Abuja at three in the afternoon after several meetings. First thing in the morning, the foreign minister and his counterpart highlighted the visit as “a good opportunity to strengthen relations.” Onyeama stressed his desire for these relations to increase in “gas and oil” with Spain “in this context of war between Russia and Ukraine.”
The press conference experienced the energy problems living in Abuja, with a power outage when it was Albares’ turn. Once power was restored, the Spaniard described Nigeria as “a first-class partner and friend of Spain in Africa.” Immersed in a global energy supply crisis, Albares defined the country as a “reliable and constant” partner in the oil business, since the 18% of the total black gold that enters Spain comes from here. “Nigeria is our number one supplier of oil and number one in gas, that energy relationship is mutually beneficial,” he mused.
In the delegation that is part of the trip there are representatives of the gas company Naturgy and the oil companies Repsol and Cepsa, all with interests in the country and who later participated in a meeting with the Minister of Energy, timidre silva.
Recently, Nigeria has privatized its national oil company, a transfer to private hands that will take effect in June of this year. Although Cepsa did not have direct contracts with her, her interests lie, among other things, in closing new agreements and the opportunity to travel with the minister, which means holding meetings at the highest level. It should be remembered that the Four. Five% Of the crude that Cepsa buys, it goes to Nigeria, which is why it is its main supplier. Repsol only acquires 5% of Nigerian crude, but it joined the entourage to explore new business options.
In the case of Naturgy, they have taken advantage of the meeting to begin the process of negotiating the contracts that it has had for two decades with Nigeria and which expire in 2024. The intention of the gas company is adjust the purchase level to the current situation and conditions From the market. Being in the country in person favors relationships to close the future contract. Albares described the meeting with Silva as “very productive” and although he did not go into details, he did reveal that they had been told about the opportunities that exist in the country.
“We want our companies to be part of Nigeria’s diversification process,” he said at the subsequent press conference. Minister Silva, for his part, said that Spain is “the most reliable partner” and that the fact that the first visit of the year was to Nigeria is proof of this. “As a country we need all the investments that come, at the meeting there are very important potential investors who can provide important opportunities,” he explained. Although they asked him about a change towards renewables, Silva assured that his priorities go through “increase gas reserves” and solve the problem they have with oil sabotage: “Spain could help us with that problem”said.
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