Nigeria to float new LNG projects

[Sopuruchi Onwuka]

Nigeria is conceptualizing new liquefied natural gas projects after allowing investors disperse with over $30 billion capital budgets earlier proposed for two green field liquefaction plants in the Niger Delta.

NLNG MD Tony Attah

The development came as the prevailing energy transition away from petroleum fuels strike urgent notes for resource holders to expedite gas development as the most acceptable and long term window in the global demand movement to low emission energy options.

Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, stated weekend at a media parley in Abuja that the corporation is already working with partners in the Shell operated oil and gas exploration and production joint venture to sink more investments in expansion of liquefaction capacity of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, a gas valorization venture driven by the partners who produce most of the nation’s petroleum commodity.

In responding to issues raised at the forum which showcased the corporation’s leading role in resource accountability and transparent declaration of earnings, Mallam Kyari declared that NNPC was in talks with operators of deepwater assets in the country to explore possibilities of floating LNG projects.

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According to him, the FLNG projects would provide a veritable platform for harnessing and monetization of the nation’s stranded gas assets in off shore terrains.

Mallam Kyari made it clear at the forum hosted by the Group Public Affairs Department of the corporation that gas on which Nigeria sits holds abundant energy, revenue and economic growth potentials for the country in the energy transition landscape.

He added that gas has also remained the most resilient fuel factor in the prevailing energy transition era, stressing that Nigeria holds abundance of proven and probable gas reserves which is currently estimated to be in excess of 600 trillion cubic feet of reserves.

“Gas creates jobs, it fires industries, it grows the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) and earns revenue for the federal government amongst other collateral benefits,” he pointed out as the reason why government would revisit its parallel export and domestic gas programmes that slanted in favour of domestic supply in the past decade.

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The Oracle Today reports that government had disappointed a crowd of foreign investors that had declared keenness to embark on ambitious gas liquefaction and export projects in Brass, Rivers State; Olokola in Ondo State; and Bonny in Rivers State.

The initial two train liquefaction plant developments in Olokola and Brass, coupled with expansion plan by the existing NLNG Train-7 commanded investment profile of over $30m billion; and the investors comprising major global names in the petroleum industry were already reaching investment decisions when government announced policy shift that deemphasized export gas for domestic supply obligations targeted at firing the local power sector.

Mallam Kyari did not clarify whether the original investors in OK-LNG and Brass-LNG are still interested in the moribund projects. He did not also disclose the new partners in the new LNG project concepts being hatched by the corporation.

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According to Mallam Kyari, Nigeria’s gas reserves status is built on fading statistics. He stressed that the country’s gas reserves figures would overshoot expectations when deliberate exploration for non associated gas account for stranded gas.

In emphasizing the criticality of gas in the energy transition window and Nigeria’s role as world’s energy supply factor, Mallam Kyari noted that the success of the NLNG Train-7 investment decision in the middle of the novel coronavirus pandemic amplifies the global attention on gas the primary fuel in the energy transition phase.

He made it clear that closure of the NLNG Train-7 investment deal among the partners was only possible with the tacit support of President Muhammadu Buhari whom, Mallam Kyari testified, takes decisions in the best interest of the poor Nigerian masses.

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