President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday flagged off the construction work for the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 project.
The project was delayed last year following the impact of COVID-19-induced economic slowdown and lower gas demand worldwide.
On May 13, 2020, NLNG had awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for the Train 7 project to SCD JV Consortium, comprising affiliates of Saipem, Chiyoda and Daewoo.
The Train 7 project is a joint venture consortium that seeks to boost Nigeria’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) output to 30 million tons per annum (mtpa) from 22 mtpa.
Speaking during the virtual groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, Buhari said the development is “yet another very important milestone in the history of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry”.
Buhari, who served as Minister of Petroleum Resources during military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, said he kicked off Nigeria’s 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 organization transform from just a project in the early 90s to a very successful company with over 20 years of responsible operations and steady supply of Liquefied Natural Gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas and Natural Gas Liquids into the global market. This is proof that Nigeria has great capacity to deliver value to the world by harnessing our natural resources,” he said.
The shareholders of the Nigeria LNG Limited include the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), which holds 49 percent shares on behalf of the federal government; Shell Gas B.V (SGBV) holds 25.6 percent; Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France, 15 percent stake; and Eni International (N.A) N.V.S.a.r.l, with 10.4 percent stake.
Buhari commended the shareholders “for proving a Nigerian company that can operate a world-class business; safely, profitably and responsibly”.
He said, “Clearly, you have set the stage upon which Nigeria’s vast gas resources will continue to grow well into the future.
“The focus of this 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 revenue earner, fuel for industries and necessary feed for petrochemicals and fertiliser plants.
“I am proud that NLNG as the pioneer LNG company in Nigeria, has conscientiously proven the viability of the gas sector over the years, currently contributing about one percent to our country’s GDP; 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 percent Nigerian management team.”
Buhari urge the board of directors, management and staff of Nigeria LNG, the host communities, the Rivers state government and agencies of the federal government to continue to collaborate to ensure completion and eventual commissioning of the Train 7 project to ensure quick commencement of Train 8 project.
He assured potential investors in the oil and gas sector that the federal government will continue to create an enabling environment in order to develop the sector and bring the full benefits of gas closer to the people.
“As we flag off the Train 7 project today, I look forward to the development and execution of more gas projects by the 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,” he said.