Nigeria’s plans to put in a further $25 billion dollars into the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) for an expansion programme may have been put on hold due to among other things, pressure for the country to divest its interest in some national assets.
The NLNG Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Tony Attah, who disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, on Wednesday, said the company, despite all, still has the ability of deliver three times as much gas as the country’s proven reserves.
“We have all it takes to also create hundreds of thousands of jobs, if the NLNG goes ahead with a proposed expansion plan.
” This has reached some appreciable level, but it is being delayed by some factors beyond our control,” Attah said.
It has been argued in some quarters, that NLNG holds the key to Nigeria’s recovery from its economic woes, caused by oil glut in the international market and restiveness in the oil producing Niger Delta region.
But international creditor agencies, particularly, the IMF, has insisted that government should hands off ownership and management of NLNG to enable it have the financial muscle to embark on robust economic reform, needed for early exit from recession.
NLNG, is often regarded as the most successful public private partnership venture between the government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Eni to produce liquefied natural gas for export.
It currently operates six Trains (liquefaction and purification facilities), and Attah said it was about to be add two Trains as part of the expansion programme.
He was also quick to point out that although “the final decision on the project is yet to push through, the future still looks bright.”
The CEO identified slow pace in getting buyers of the products and other factors, which he failed to name as militating against the increase in the number of additional products to the existing ones.
He said the Trains 7 and 8 would rake in a total of more than the estimated $25 billion investment into the Nigerian economy.
Nigeria, he stated, has the world’s ninth largest proven gas reserves, at 187 trillion cubic feet (tcf), and a potential for reserves of 600 tfc gas that the company wishes to expand.
The potential investment that is expected to trail the additional two Trains in the NLNG scope will help the economy better””, he said.
“There is to be creation of 800,000 jobs as soon as the expansion programme is able to come on stream,” Atttah maintained.
However, it was learnt that Train 7 coming on board will also need assurances from international buyers of their willingness to accept supply .
An official of NNPC , who pleaded for anonymity, said even Train 6 was still not fully subscribed because of price war by other countries’ liquifued gas companies, which lowered prices in 2015.
NLNG, which has 23 LNG carriers, is said to have generated more than $85 billion in 17 years, with assets of more than $13 billion.
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