By Udeme Akpan
Stakeholders have urged the Federal Government and others to invest more in the Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG, as it becomes obvious that other nations have left the nation behind with its 22 million tonnes, MT, yearly capacity.
Investigation by Energy Vanguard showed that this is based on the awareness that the expansion of the nation’s output to 30MT yearly through the ongoing Train 7 would not make much difference in the global ranking of Nigeria.
Available data showed that Australia, Qatar and Malaysia are currently the world’s top three exporters with 77.5MT, 77.MT and 24MT respectively.
These are followed by Nigeria, Indonesia and Algeria, with 22MT, 16.6MT and 11.5MT respectively. The nations are further followed by Russia, Trinidad & Tobago, Oman and Papua New Guinea with 10.8MT, 10MT, 8.1MT, and 7.1MT respectively.
However, in its presentation at the just-concluded 12th biennial International Conference themed, “Powering Forward: Enabling Nigeria’s Industrialisation via Gas” obtained by Energy Vanguard, the Managing Director, Nigeria LNG Limited, Mr. Tony Attah, MD/CEO, stated: “Nigeria LNG, the biggest LNG plant in Africa produces 22 million tonnes despite our 200 TCF, and that’s partly why we are saying it’s really a time to take advantage of this resource and start to monetize it.”
He said: “As the world is transiting, the risk is incumbent on us that we potentially could get to a point where even the gas, just like oil, will not be as relevant in the future because if technology, which I believe is the biggest disruption takes centre stage to make hydrogen more available and easier to access, then we have a big issue.
“As we say, there is still coal in Enugu, for those who are from the 50s, you can imagine the biggest economy at the time was underpinned by coal.
“The locomotives, everything was about coal, power was about coal. But today no one talks about Enugu with respect to energy.
“So energy is in full transition. And we believe it’s time to monetise Nigeria’s gas today. We just touched on a quick case study of Qatar.
“Someone mentioned Qatar already from a proficient country to a gas giant, and it took just 10 years, which is why we as Nigeria LNG firmly believe in the conversation and the narrative about the declaration of the decade of gas. We believe it is possible.”
Case of Qatar
Speaking further, he said: “If you look at Qatar from 1995. When they really went into gas development, we were just two years behind Qatar.
“So Qatar’s first gas LNG was in 1997. Nigeria’s first LNG was in 1999, just two years behind. But then within 10 years because of the deliberateness of the government and focus on gas, they have gone to 77 million tonnes and we are at best 22 million tonnes.
““We’ve made major in-roads with the support of the Minister of State for Petroleum, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, and our shareholders NNPC, Shell, Total, and Eni, taking the ultimate decision for Train-7.
“But Train 7 is only going to add about eight million tonnes to take us to 30 million tonnes and just recently to establish Qatar’s dominance and deliberateness and focus on gas, they have taken an FID for 30million tonnes.
“We celebrated Train-7 on the back of eight million tonnes to take us to 30 million.
“They have taken FID for 30 million tonnes. Essentially, our overall existence as a country is their increment. And for me, that is about how deliberate you can be. Look at how much they have made it count in Qatar. But for Nigeria LNG, we continue to deliver value to the nation.”
In an interview with Energy Vanguard, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Executive Director, Spaces for Change, said: “As a major gas destination, Nigeria deserves to stake more of its resources in the development of its LNG in order to get much value from natural gas.
“As the world considers shifting from dependence on one form of energy to another, we should consider making massive investment in the sector, apparently because of much benefit the nation is currently getting from LNG.”
Nevertheless, in a document obtained from its website, the NLNG, stated: “NLNG has over the years paid dividends of about USD18 billion to the Federal Government of Nigeria courtesy of its shareholding in the company, via Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. As a good corporate citizen, NLNG also contributes to national wealth and the economic wellbeing of states in which it operates, by paying all applicable taxes and tariffs. The company has paid about USD9 billion in taxes to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Payment to the Federal Government of Nigeria via its shareholding in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, for feedgas from inception till date is about USD15 billion. With its plant construction, the company generated considerable Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, for the country. NLNG has assets (i.e. property, plant and equipment) worth about USD17.5 billion with 51 per cent stake by international oil companies and 49 per cent belonging to the country through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.”
The report, added: “The Company, since 2008, has contributed about four per cent of Nigeria’s annual Gross Domestic Product, GDP. With rebasing of the GDP in 2014, NLNG’s contribution to the GDP is estimated at about one per cent. NLNG provided more than 12,000 jobs at the peak of construction of each plant. Overall, the major sub-contractors employed over 18,000 Nigerians in technical jobs in the Base Project (Trains 1 and 2). Through each Nigerian Content plan for its contracts, NLNG has promoted the development and employment of Nigerian manpower. Over 12,000 direct jobs will be generated during the construction phase of Train 7.”
Time, running out
However, time seems to be running out as some emerging oil and gas nations have also ventured into commercial NLG production.
Take Mozambique as an example. In its latest report, African Oil and Gas, stated: “Mozambique at Forefront of Global Gas Development.
“Driven by new discoveries and progressive gas-focused policies, Africa’s LNG consumption and production is set to become one of the fastest-growing sub-sectors globally through 2040.”