(EnergyAsia, May 26 2010, Wednesday) — Shanghai-listed China State Construction Engineering Corp Ltd has struck a US$23-billion deal with state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) to build three oil refineries and a fuel complex in the African nation.

In a statement, NNPC said the agreement would add 750,000 b/d of capacity to the West African nation’s refining industry. It did not say when construction would begin or where the refineries would be located.

China is keen to gain access to Nigeria’s vast hydrocarbon resources, and has offered as much as $50 billion for six billion barrels of oil.

NNPC said it “aims to accelerate the construction of new refineries in Nigeria to stem the flood of imported refined products into the country.”

Nigeria, one of the US’s largest suppliers of crude oil, has seen production at its four existing refineries plunge because of corruption and mismanagement, forcing the country to spend US$10 billion a year to import refined fuels.

The government is also weighed down by rising costs from paying subsidies to keep fuel prices down.