The Niger State Government said on Tuesday that a Chinese firm had agreed to invest N160 billion in oil exploration activities in the state.
The Commissioner for Mining and Mineral Resources, Abubakar Jibreel, who made the disclosure in Minna at a press briefing on the ministry’s activities in 2013, said the amount would also cover the cost of building a refinery in Baro, Agaie Local Government Area of the state.
Jibreel said that the move was part of efforts to attract investors to explore its oil and gas potentials.
He said that the company was among five foreign investors that had indicated interest in oil and gas exploration in the Bida Basin.
The commissioner said government had not entered into any Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese firm because it wanted the state indigenes to be part of the investment.
He said foreign investors had shown interest in the oil and gas deposits in the Bida basin because of the quality of crude oil discovered in the area.
Jibreel also said the crude oil deposit sample had been certified by internationally recognised laboratories outside Nigeria.
He said that President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the state government’s letter on the oil and gas deposits in the Bida basin and had forwarded same to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Jibreel said the letter had also been sent to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for further action.
He said the DPR had arranged a meeting with the state ministry officials to discuss the possibility of exploration of the basin.
“A sample from a dug well in the basin had shown 70 per cent gas and 30 per cent oil,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that the ministry would exceed its projected revenue target of N10 million due to the prospects of revenue from the oil investment.
Jibreel expressed concern over the activities of illegal miners, who, he said, were operating without concern for their safety.
He, therefore, called for a review of the mining laws of the country to make it possible for state and local governments to have roles to play before miners could be allowed to begin operations anywhere in the country.