The agreement, which was signed in London just before Easter, provides for a basic review of factors related to the petroleum activities, policy and administration.
In Nigeria, the DPR has a similar function as the NPD has in Norway. The main elements of the agreement on cooperation are linked to the following areas:
"The main objective of the agreement is to assist in petroleum administration in Nigeria. At the same time, we see that such an institutional cooperation can also make a positive contribution to the presence of the Norwegian oil and gas industry in Nigeria," says the NPD's project manager, Steinar Nja.
Next week, Minister of Petroleum and Energy Einar Steensnæs will be travelling to Nigeria together with representatives of the Norwegian authorities and Norwegian industry to meet with President Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as the president's adviser on oil and energy issues. He will also be meeting with DPR management, in part to receive a briefing on their activities, as well as the cooperation agreement between the NPD and DPR.
During the four-day visit, Steensnaes will also participate in a business seminar under the direction of Intsok and Statoil.
Norwegian industrial companies, including Statoil and Aker Kværner, have had operations in Nigeria since the mid-1990s.
Intsok, a cooperation project between the authorities and the industry to promote internationalization of the Norwegian oil and gas industry has worked for several years to establish contact between Nigerian and Norwegian companies.
Africa's most populous country is rich in resources, including vast oil and gas resources. However, sixteen years of a military dictatorship and misrule has brought the country's economy to its knees. About 60 per cent (2000 figures) of the population live under the poverty level.
The first, informal inquiry about an institutional cooperation between the NPD and the DPR came about in 1998 in connection with a seminar on gas burning in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, where the NPD's Steinar Nja took part as a speaker.
The fall of the military dictatorship and reinstatement of democracy opened up the possibilities of closer cooperation.
In connection with Prime Minister Bondevik's visit to Nigeria in the spring of 2000, Norway and Nigeria signed a so-called Memorandum of Understanding, which also provided for cooperation in the energy sector. Later on, a decision was made to proceed in two areas of cooperation: one relating to industrial cooperation, which Intsok is responsible for, and one relating to institutional cooperation, which the NPD is responsible for.
In the last couple of years, Norwegian authorities have provided support to several courses and seminars in the field of oil and gas production, in addition to project support for business development. Norad has provided aid to Nigeria since 2001.
The cooperation between the NPD and the DPR is financed by Norad through a grant of about NOK 15 million, which will initially run until 2005.
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