…NLNG plans N3bn investment annually in Bonny Kingdom
…2019 elections won’t derail Train 7 project — Kachikwu
By Michael Eboh
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, weekend, disclosed that the Federal Government would be engaging with management of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company, NLNG, on the feasibility of the company acquiring stakes and driving the revival of Brass LNG and Olokola LNG.
This was even as the NLNG disclosed that as part of its 30-year initiative, it is targeting an investment of N3 billion annually in Bonny Kingdom to drive development in the community and transform it into a notable tourist and relaxation destination.
Speaking during a visit to the NLNG plant complex in Bonny Island, Kachikwu allayed concerns that the forthcoming elections would derail the Train 7 project of the NLNG, explaining that the Federal Government would provide the much-needed support to ensure the company, which had always remained insulated from politics, achieve its goal.
He advised the NLNG to avoid complacency, get out of its comfort zone and make investments, or mobilize resources and investors for the successful take-off of the Brass LNG and OKLNG projects.
Brass LNG was initiated in 2003, but had remained in planning stages several years, while the foreign investors in the proposed investment had all pulled out. OKLNG on the other hand, was initiated in 2005, but is on the verge of death, as all the investors had pulled out and the government is considering scrapping the project.
He noted that revival of the two LNG projects would help create about 5,000 jobs in peak periods and almost 3,000 jobs in normal periods.
He said, “The NLNG have been fantastic in terms of its comfort zone. You probably can give them a 100 per cent in terms of their own performance. But I am saying that the world is bigger than this island. We have opportunities that are stranded everywhere — Brass LNG, in terms of shareholding, financing; OKLNG, in terms of getting off the ground.
“I would like to see NLNG get out of its comfort zone over the next 30 years. Different from Train 8 and nimble investments in smaller fields, how about Brass LNG and OK LNG? Why must you not be the parents of those types of investments? Even if it is just to harness the potential investors because of the clout and respect you have in the international financial community.
“I like to see you hand-hold some of those projects, even if it is little investments you have as a collective. You need to go from the whole, to a smaller collective and to drive the process.”
Kachikwu further stated that the Federal Government would be reaching out to the NLNG, not seeking to compel it, but enter into a collaboration with it to see what could be done and how government can learn from what they have done well to drive the process of revival and completion of the two LNG projects.
He said, “I am saying as the grandfather of this business, the NLNG have built six trains, looking at seven; hopefully, potentially more, let us begin to look at where through minimal investments, through structures and designs, reconfigurations and expert advice, you can actually hand-hold some of those trains that are beginning to lag behind, so that the whole founding fathers’ concept of taking this all over the place happens.”
The minister added that the Federal Government is going to set up an inter-ministerial task team to engage with the NLNG on ways to increase consumption and drag down the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, also known as cooking gas, ensuring that locally-produced LPG is cheaper than its imported counterpart.
Also speaking, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the NLNG, Mr. Tony Attah, expressed optimism that with the support and full backing of the Federal Government, the company is poised to ensuring that Train 7 becomes a reality.
In his presentation to the Minister’s team, comprising the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Folashade Yemi-Esan; Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Management Board, NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, among others, General Manager, Production of the NLNG, Mr. Tayo Ogini said the planned Train 7 holds immense potentials for Nigeria.
According to him, Train 7 would bring about a 35 per cent growth in Nigeria’s LNG output, create 8,000 jobs, build capacity for small scale LNGs and increase domestic LPG supply to about 0.5 million tonnes per annum.