There were strong indications at the weekend that Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) had signed agreements with South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai to acquire six LNG carrier ships.
France’s BNP Paribas and Nigeria’s GT Bank are brokering a $1.6 billion loan to help fund acquisition of the vessels and expect to sign the financing documents this week, according to agency reports.
“The agreement to buy the ships should be signed before today or tomorrow,” Reuters quoted a source, adding that NLNG executives had travelled to South Korea for the signing.
The banking source said that the loan would be medium-to-long term, with the deal expected to be sealed by the end of March.
Samsung and Hyundai could not be reached immediately for comments.
A spokeswoman for BNP Paribas said it does not normally comment on transactions with clients. NLNG, which is majority owned jointly by Nigeria’s state oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Royal Dutch Shell, said last year that it would seek international loans to expand the operations of its shipping subsidiary Bonny Gas Transport Limited, which currently has 24 LNG ships.
NLNG was set up more than two decades ago to harness Nigeria’s natural gas resources and produce liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids for export.
It has long-term supply contracts with buyers in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Portugal and France and also sells on the spot market.
NLNG has a capacity to produce 22 million tonnes of liquefied gas a year.
It obtains its gas supply from the upstream oil companies and liquefies it for export.
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