Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The decision of the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) to push forward with the planned expansion of its production capacity to 30 million metric tones per annum (mtpa) has elicited some excitement from the United Kingdom, Turkey and Portugal.
The three countries showed their excitement with the Train-7 project when their ambassadors paid a joint diplomatic visit to the facility in Bonny Island, River State.
During the visit, the British High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright; Ambassador of Turkey, Melih Ulueren; and his counterpart from Portugal, António Da Silva, said they were excited about the prospects of an additional LNG production train by the NLNG.
NLNG had in July this year announced it was shopping for about $7 billion from the global financial markets to expand its operations and increase its production capacity from 22mtpa to 30mtpa.
Speaking on the sidelines of the visit, the ambassadors stated that the gas project would employ more people and eventually support the growth of Nigeria’s economy.
Arkwright specifically said: “The benefits to the country, including employment opportunities of this facility are so huge. It’s been an eye opening experience and it is a great example of a Nigerian company with British and international involvement that is really benefiting Nigeria.”
He further stated: “I am very excited to hear about the prospects of Train 7, which is a new train. I am happy that the decision will be taken soon so that even more people can be employed here in the construction phase of Train 7. So, it is a good example of a great company and I’m really proud to have been here.”
On his part, Ulueren said:, “Is a great experience to be here as a new comer to Nigeria and it is exciting to see what this country has achieved through the Nigerian management of the NLNG. It is my pleasure to be here.”
Equally in his comment, Da Silva, described the plant as being incredible. He added: “We are excited about what has been achieved here as well as the target of adding another train to the already six existing ones.”
In his remarks, the Managing Director of NLNG, Mr. Tony Attah, stated that the British had some stakes in the company while Portugal and Turkey were its customers.
Attah explained: “For us it is a great privilege to have three ambassadors visiting the plant in one occasion. It is actually a testament of what Nigeria LNG means, not only to Nigeria but indeed to the entire world in terms of our vision of being a global player and helping to build a better Nigeria and bringing energy to the world.
“You heard the speech of the British High Commissioner in terms of his wishes to us on Train 7 and our growth. As he mentioned to you, Shell is a big player here and that is a British connect. We also have Total, Eni and, of course, the federal government through the NNPC with 49 per cent.”
“With the other ambassadors, it is important to state that we do big business with Turkey and Portugal. And so essentially they represent countries that underpin our existence as a company and also as part of the business. And as you heard, the future for us is Train 7 and we look forward to that investment decision,” he added.