Coratella: Nigeria’s LNG Potential Must Be Unlocked

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Chief Operating Officer for E&C Onshore Division at Saipem, Mr. Maurizio Coratella

The Chief Operating Officer for E&C Onshore Division at Saipem, Mr. Maurizio Coratella, spoke with journalists on the company’s plan to deepen oil and gas business in Nigeria and beyond as well as how its recent contract award to build Liquified and Natural Gas project in Mozambique will further enhance productivity. Emma Okonji presents the excerpts:

Saipem recently secured an EPC contract to build an LNG project in Mozambique in collaboration with McDermott International and Chiyoda Corp. Can you tell us more about that deal?

Yes, we secured the contract and it is a very important contract award for Saipem, which confirms our commitment to the gas value chain and to Africa where we see enormous potential for growth in the sector.

A recent report was credited to Saipem CEO, saying that the company’s future revolves around gas and renewables. Can you please elaborate on this statement?

The oil price volatility along with the need to limit GHG emissions is changing the energy industry. We are facing a real energy transition in which gas is playing a fundamental role as transit fuel to allow renewable energies to be increasingly dominant. The future of Saipem passes through this transition and will be always more focused in providing to our clients’ solutions to reduce their carbon foot print.

Indeed, most of our clients have embraced ambitious plans for the lowering of Carbon Dioxide emissions, aiming at reaching a Carbon Neutrality of their plants. Saipem is committed to become the partner of choice of such clients providing hybridised solutions, with the integration of renewables energies that would allow tangible reduction of carbon emissions. Liquefied Natural Gas is at the core of our strategy.

How does Saipem see the Nigerian market, and what is the strategy to deepen its market share in Nigeria?

Nigeria has a lot of potential in terms of energy and in particular LNG, thanks to its significant gas reserves. Surely there are all the necessary ingredients for Nigeria to become one of the top three LNG exporters in the world. However, this potential needs to be unlocked, as the last LNG Project was NLNG Train Six after which several LNG prospects have been shelved prematurely. As Nigeria is increasingly desirous of unlocking its several opportunities and diversify its revenue base, in order to address the current infrastructure deficit, LNG market no doubt presents an enviable window through which this can be achieved. We are looking very positively to NLNG Train 7 in Bonny Island which, I do hope, will be the beginning of a resumption of a series of LNG developments in Nigeria.

Considering the state of the Nigerian economy, with reduced economic activities, what is Saipem’s strategy to remain relevant in the long term business in Nigeria?

With our investment in the development of the largest and most modern fabrication yard in West Africa, Saipem is uniquely positioned to remain a dominant player in the Nigerian oil and gas sector and in building the needed infrastructural base that will support the development of Nigeria. A project like Train 7 is very strategic for us in order to continue to deliver value and increase the productive capacity of the country.

How do you ensure that the Nigerian people continue to benefit from oil and gas projects?
With over 50 years of operational experience in Nigeria and a robust local content policy dating back several years before the Local Content Act in Nigeria, we have become adept in delivering local content development, not only in terms of economic contributions but most importantly in human capacity development. A project like Train 7 will bring opportunities for training, technology transfer, mentorship and employment which we are very well experienced in delivering. As you know Saipem is not a ‘briefcase company’ but an integrated company with a physical footprint in the country and a long term engagement with the local communities. Saipem’s presence in Nigeria has been for a continuous and uninterrupted period of 52 years now and we continue to say that we are in Nigeria to stay.

What is your view about the Nigeria oil and gas market and what advice will you give to further grow the market?

Historically Nigeria is an important market for Saipem, thanks to the opportunity afforded us to contribute to the development of various and diverse oil and gas infrastructural even in some of the remotest parts of Nigeria. LNG is our priority and with monumental projects like NLNG Train 7, the Nigerian future remains very bright. Saipem aims to set the standards in order to be the reference for LNG projects in Nigeria and globally as a result of Saipem’s model for professionalism, know-how and execution; and conscious of our local content commitment to the countries where we operate.