Funding options for AKK gas project near completion –NNPC

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Adewale Sanyaolu, Barcelona, Spain

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that talks on the funding options for the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas project was nearing conclusion.

Its Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, stated this at the Nigerian Day hosted by the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas Limited(NLNG) during the 30th edition of Gas Technology Conference (Gastech) in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday.

Baru noted that the tremendous progress was recorded towards securing funding for the project during the last visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Beijing, China.

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Baru, who was represented at the event by NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Gas & Power, Engr. Saidu Mohammed, revealed that the corporation had gone far in negotiating the terms of funding as well as the best payback structure for the project, affirming that the financial partners were willing to collaborate with the corporation on the matter.

The AKK gas pipeline is designed to enable gas connectivity between the East, West and North, which is currently inadequate.

It would also enable gas supply and utilization to key commercial centres in the Northern corridor of Nigeria with the attendant positive spin-off on power generation and industrial growth.

The NNPC boss said the ground-breaking ceremony for the project was near, explaining that Nigeria was focused on expanding its critical gas infrastructure such as pipelines, which would lead to a gas grid covering the entire country.

“Once you have the whole nation covered with a gas grid, industries will naturally spring up along the way and litter the entire country. That is our target in the long run,” Baru noted.

He described the coming of Train 7 of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) as a “big bang” that would usher in new developments for Nigeria’s energy sector and expand the nation’s economy, adding that the project was also capable of unlocking new vistas for country’s LNG potentials.

Dr. Baru, who said the corporation had been looking forward to the FID on Train 7 in the last 10 years, revealed that the wait would soon be over, even as he commended the Federal Government and the various shareholders for their support towards the NLNG project.

He said Nigeria was looking outwards with its gas resources because God has blessed the country with abundant reserves.

“We cannot consume out our gas resources in the next 50 years, even if we generate as high as 40,000mw for power.

We are happy that in the NLNG is a credible company capable of competing in the international arena,” Baru added.

Established in 1989 to harness Nigeria’s vast natural gas resources and produce Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) for export, the NLNG is owned by the NNPC (49%), Shell (25.6%), Total (15%) and Eni (10.4%).

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It currently has six trains in operation, while the Final Investment Decision (FID) on its Train 7 is expected to be taken in December 2018, a move that will increase the company’s production capacity from 22 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 30 MTPA.

He stated that beyond the LNG business, Nigeria was looking at other ways of marketing its enormous gas resources such as the establishment of a gas hub which would lead to the springing up of fertilizer, petrochemical and other gas-based industries in the Niger Delta and across the entire country.

On his part, the Managing Director of the NLNG, Mr. Tony Attah described Train 7 as the next big thing not only in Nigeria’s gas industry, but also in the global gas arena.

He stated that the company had made tremendous progress on Train 7, assuring that all the shareholders remained ever committed to supply of gas feedstock for the project.

“We are here at Gastech to assure the world that this time around, we mean business. And with the support from Government and our shareholders, Train 7 will be a success,” Attah concluded.

The Gas Technology Conference (Gastech) is the world’s most significant meeting place for upstream, midstream and downstream natural gas and LNG professionals where over 30,000 of participants convene to do business.

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