- As Omotowa bows out, reiterates need for competitiveness
Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The change of leadership baton at the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) was formally completed at the weekend when Babs Omotowa, immediate past Managing Director of the company, handed over the ‘NLNG key’ to his successor, Tony Attah at a farewell and welcome ceremony in Abuja.
Taking over from Omotowa, Attah said his team will work to deliver on the NLNG’s planned Train-7 project which has remained without a final investment decision (FID) for long now.
According to the 2016 facts and figures report of the NLNG, plans for building Train-7 which will lift the total production capacity of the plant to 30 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG are currently progressing with some preliminary early site preparation work initiated and further work on an FID from the shareholders.
Attah said though the current instability in the global oil industry was a huge challenge to be considered by the company, it however has no choice but to continue to grow its values and competitiveness in the global LNG market.
According to him, supplies from the United States and Australia has resulted in Nigeria working hard to keep its market share in destinations such as Indonesia that were its traditional market strongholds.
While stating that he will rely on the board of the company for support, Attah said the profitability streaks the NLNG recorded in the last four years were possible from Omotowa’s practical leadership.
“I have just received the key, that key will unlock Train-7. Train-7 will be real,” said Attah.
He further stated while analysing the current status of the global oil industry and its impact on LNG market: “We are right in the middle of the turbulence. Gas supply is down, assets are about 18 to 20 years old if you add the construction phase meaning the asset is aging. So we are also beginning the second half almost the same way we started the first half.”
“These are tough times and by far the toughest impacts on this business today is the price of gas in the market – most people do not understand the linkage between gas and oil, but more importantly, demand is slowing, and supply is doubling.
“With the Americans who used to import now exporting, Australia capturing the Indonesian market where we used to cream off, it is no longer a kid’s play to lead a company like this. We have a lot to do but we have no choice, we have to win and to win, you have to win this second half,” Attah explained.
He said on his request for support from the company’s board: “In football, it is said the first half is for the players, the second is for the coach. My coaches are the board and I look to them for inspiration, support and even greater than we saw in the first half.
“I am confident in my colleagues because we have done it before and we will do it again, we will deliver on the vision of this company to be the global LNG company that has done Nigeria proud.”
Omotowa in a documentary on his stewardship at the NLNG, stated that the company generated $40 billion from which $22 billion was paid to the government, and $12 billion to the stakeholders. He added, “no single dollar is missing, we have had no issues with contracting, we have no issues with employment because as a leader, I have been able to show that you don’t have to do anything unethical despite the pressures you get from across the country.”
He also advocated at the ceremony the need for Nigeria to continue to ensure that the NLNG remained competitive.
According to him: “It is important that Nigeria continues to drive for competitive business environment so that the business communities that create jobs will add value to Nigeria.
The NLNG is an inspiration and has been telling the narratives about Nigeria. All hands in the country must work to make sure that this jewel is made to continue on Train-7.”
NLNG’s board chair, Osobonye LongJohn stated in his earlier remarks that the board was pleased with Omotowa’s accomplishments for the company, especially his approach to the company’s corporate social responsibilities. He also said the board was comfortable with Attah and will support him and his team.