Abuja, Lagos — President Muhammadu Buhari has asked stakeholders in the Nigerian LNG's $10 billion Train 7 to collaborate towards ensuring the timely completion of the project.
The president said yesterday at the virtual groundbreaking ceremony of the project in Bonny Island, Rivers State, that the speedy and safe delivery of Train 7 would encourage the timely take-off of the Train 8 project.
Train 7 is expected to add eight million tonnes of gas supply to the existing 22 million tonnes and rev up production by about 35 per cent.
The project is expected to attract $10 billion in Foreign Direct Investments (FID), yield $20 billion to the federation, and create 10,000 direct jobs and 40,000 indirect jobs, while 55 per cent of the engineering work is to be carried out in Nigeria.
In addition, 55 per cent of all procurements for the execution of the project will be done by Nigerian vendors, 100 per cent of all installations and construction will happen in-country, while the contractors for the project are SCD JV Consortium, comprising affiliates of Saipem, Chiyoda and Daewoo.
The facility is owned and operated by NLNG, a joint venture between Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which owns 49 per cent, Shell Gas, with 25.6 per cent ownership, Total, which has a 15 per cent stake and Eni with 10.4 per cent equity.
Also at the ceremony, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, stated that Nigeria is currently not too far from train eight to 12, as the next train would be higher and better than the current one.
Buhari said the NLNG had generated over $114 billion as revenue over the years.
He called on the board of directors, management and staff of NLNG, the host communities, the Rivers State Government and other agencies of government to continue to collaborate to ensure the completion and eventual inauguration of the Train 7 project "safely and on time."
He said: "As we flag off the Train 7 project today, I look forward to the development and execution of more gas projects by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and indigenous operators, and more trains from Nigeria LNG to harness the over 600 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves we are endowed with.
"Let me use this opportunity to commend the shareholders of NLNG, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum, NNPC and the NCDMB and other stakeholders for very exemplary collaboration, which has culminated in this great opportunity for Train 7.
"I want to thank the foreign investors for the confidence reposed in Nigeria, and assure all Nigerians and potential investors in the oil and gas sector that the federal government will continue to create the enabling environment in order to develop the sector and bring the full benefits of gas closer to our people."
The president recalled that the story of Nigeria LNG was one he had been "passionately associated with during the formative years of the project."
He added: "As Minister of Petroleum Resources, I kicked off our first foray in LNG Business in 1978. At the time, it was already apparent that Nigeria was mainly a gas-rich country with a little oil!
"It therefore gives me great joy to see the organisation transform from just a project in the early 90s to a very successful company with over 20 years of responsible operations and a steady supply of liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas liquids into the global market. This is proof that Nigeria has a great capacity to deliver value to the world by harnessing our natural resources."
He congratulated NLNG and its shareholders - NNPC, Shell, Total and Eni- for proving that a Nigerian company can operate a world-class business safely, profitably and responsibly.
Praising the consortium for setting the stage upon which Nigeria's vast gas resources will continue to grow well into the future, the president added that the focus of his administration is to boost the development of Nigeria's abundant gas resources, strengthen the gas value chain, develop the much-needed infrastructure and enhance safe operations in the sector as outlined in the National Gas Policy of 2017.
"Through the Decade of Gas initiative, which I recently launched, we will transform Nigeria into a major gas and industrialised nation with gas playing the key role as a revenue earner, fuel for industries and necessary feed for petrochemicals and fertiliser plants," he stated.
He also expressed delight that the NLNG as the pioneer LNG company in Nigeria, has proven the viability of the gas sector over the years, currently contributing about one per cent to Nigeria's GDP.
He said: " The NLNG has generated $114 billion in revenues over the years, paid $9 billion in taxes; $18 billion in dividends to the federal government and $15 billion in feed gas purchase.
"These are commendable accomplishments by the company's 100 per cent Nigerian management team.
"With this level of performance, I can only hope that the company continues to grow starting with this Train 7 project but also positioning Nigeria to thrive through the energy transition."
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, in his comments, stated that the company has positively complemented crude oil exploration by monetising flared gas and yielding huge revenue to the nation and investors.
Sylva added that since NLNG became operational in 1999, the nation has recorded a drastic reduction in operational flare status from 65 per cent to 12 per cent.
"I boldly say that the ground-breaking of Train 7 is a guarantee to every stakeholder of more dividends in terms of further reduction in gas flaring, more revenue to the nation and shareholders, more job opportunities, especially at the construction phase and more social investments for the society, " he said.
Kyari also said confidence in the sector was gradually returning, noting that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in view, more stability and investments will be experienced in the Nigerian oil industry.
"There were uncertainties since 2007 that did not allow us to get to this stage we are today. These prevented this project from going forward. Some of these challenges, particularly in the upstream gas supply if they were not taken out, we won't be celebrating today.
"This gave our shareholders the assurance of stability of the fiscal environment to invest. This is history being made," he said.
Managing Director of NLNG, Mr. Tony Attah, said the project would further the development of local capacity and businesses through the 100 per cent in-country execution of construction works, fabrications and major procurement.