Public doubt and uncertainty seem to continue to trail the Train 7 project of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, (NLNG) since last year 2018. The public fears concern an apparent slowdown in the project, after the FEED or front end engineering design contract was signed. The time lapse of eight months doesn’t seem encouraging, especially considering the usual ”Nigerian factor.”
NLNG is the Train 7 project client
The NLNG Train 7 project is a progression on the Trains 1 to 6 projects. The Train 7 project is a strategy to increase capacity through harnessing and utilizing the strengths of Trains 1-6. The Train 7 project is thus an advance on the previous Trains and is expected to significantly improve operation, capacity, infrastructure and efficiency.
At a projected total cost of $4.3b, it is NLNG’s most ambitious expansionist program yet. NLNG is made up of partners, which include NNPC the majority shareholder at 49%, Shell BP at 25.6%, Total Plc accounts for 15% and finally Eni at a still substantial 10.4%.
When completed, Train 7 is projected to increase total capacity by about 25% from 22 mtpa to somewhere in the region of 30 mtpa or metric tonnes per year. This would significantly raise earnings for the country’s petroleum and gas agency, as well as generally increase government revenue. Naturally there are a lot of expectations as well as speculations on the chances of project goals and objectives being met.
NLNG seeks to increase its global relevance with Train 7
In contrast to the general trepidation, the direct project owner, NLNG is not showing any signs of apprehension, reaffirming that the project is on-going and on schedule. In July 2018, the NNPC, which is the principal government petroleum management organ and NLNG’s parent company, had announced that the Final Investment Decision or FID would be taken in the last quarter of the year. This is now three months later with no FID yet in sight.
Mr Andy Ogeh speaks for Corporate Communications and Public Affairs department of the LNLG and has this to say: “The NLNG is fully focused on achieving other pre-conditions, which will eventually lead to Final Investment Decision and the success of the project.” He further stressed that the FEED was proceeding according to the agreed timetable and that the NLNG was being careful to ascertain that each phase of the project proceeded according to global best practice and the highest possible safety standards. The new turn in date for the FEED is now quarter two of 2019.
FEED follows concept and basic design of feasibility studies, and is basic engineering input in a project of this scale and complexity.
Train 7 is planned to be fully functional in 2024, according to the NLNG spokesman, following an approximate 5 years of construction after FID. Currently, some soil excavation is already taking lace.
The global LNG market has always been fiercely competitive as new oil stock continues to be discovered all over the world. As an old player in the game, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas is expected to bring its best game to the global market place, outputting first class petroleum quantities at globally competitive prices.
Though NLNG has affirmed on the progress, public's trepidation continues
In order to do this, Mr Andy Oge surmised, the NLNG must bring to bear its long experience and knowhow in order to remain a key global actor in an increasingly tough market. This will take a synergy of distribution via rail, road, and sea transportation, as well as communnications and other logistics.
In addition to exports, the NLNG also has a stake in the home energy market through the exploitation and distribution of LPG popularly called cooking gas. Currently according to the NLNG, it supplies fully half of the total volume of gas used in kitchens across Nigeria. Following the Federal Government’s current policy on gas powered industrialization, the NLNG has an eye on strengthening and even increasing its share in the local market significantly by a broader based production and distribution policy.