NLNG: Nigeria Must Target Train 15 to Remain Competitive in Gas Market

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Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), Tony Attah

The Managing Director, Nigeria LNG, Mr. Tony Attah, has argued that the Train 7 which the government expects to add about eight million tonnes of liquefied natural gas to the current 22 million tonnes, is no longer an ambitious target if the country has to remain globally competitive.

Attah, who spoke during a web conference on the Nigeria oil and gas industry, maintained that for the country to remain relevant, it must move from the current train 7 to train 15, so as to match countries like Qatar and Australia that have made far better use of gas.

He noted that Nigeria’s target of achieving 30 million tonnes with the ongoing train 7 project is what a country like Qatar is about adding to its existing production, stressing that the right programmes and policies should be pursued by government to grow the gas market.

“Nigeria has over 200tcf of proven gas reserves which puts us today at number 9 in the global scheme of things. If we prove the additional scope of recovery of 600tcf, that moves us ahead to becoming number 4.

“It’s about time Nigeria took advantage of this resource because as we can tell in the energy transition, oil will be downplayed because the world wants cleaner energy and wants to protect the planet. Nigeria should take a bold step forward as a gas nation.

“Today, we are number 5 in terms of LNG export in the world, we keep dropping, but on the back of train 7, we hope to gain ground again because we realise that yes , train 7 will add 35 per cent capacity to NLNG from 22 million tonnes to 30 million tonnes , but then Qatar is adding 30 million tonnes at once,” he explained.

According to Attah, the country must set its eyes on a higher target to remain competitive while the domestic LNG market should be revamped as other sources of energy continue to harm Nigerians and the environment.

He added: “We are aspiring to add eight million tonnes ,whereas another country is adding 30 million tonnes. Essentially, our whole existence is someone else’s incremental. That tells me that train 7 is no longer ambitious enough for Nigeria.

“We have to set our eyes on the bigger gain of train 8,9,10 to at least train 15 to be able to stay in reckoning and continue to deliver like we have seen in the case of Qatar which is growing its economy on the back of gas.”

However, he stated that so far, government has made positive moves to redirect the gas sector, insisting however, that if Nigeria wants to stay in reckoning in the commity of gas nations, it must look beyond train 7.

He said if well executed, the AKK project which will take gas to the north, through multiple outlets with over 600 kilometres pipeline, will bridge the industrialisation gap.

Attah also noted that the autogas project which was launched earlier in the month will not only bring about a cleaner environment, but will save massive foreign exchange because a lot is currently being spent on importation of petrol.

He argued that there’s no better time to reposition since the use of fossil fuel is becoming outdated, with countries now using alternative sources of energy like electricity to power their vehicles.

“Oil is definitely running out of time. But we are very rich in gas. So, it’s an opportunity to reposition ahead of the changing energy mix to bring about a greater future.

“Look at what other countries have been able to do with their gas reserves. Australia has less than 200 TCF of gas, but it has 89 million tonnes capacity.

“We have over 200tcf plus the 600tcf scope I talked about, but we are just working towards 30 million tonnes. It tells me that we have a lot more work to do. Gas is power, gas is safer, gas is cleaner, affordable and available,” he said.

Attah disclosed that from data available, many Nigerians, especially women and children die from smoke inhalation because of the use of firewood, rather than use gas which is safer.

“They die just trying to put food on the table, but that’s because of the energy source they are using, but with gas, which is cleaner and safer, that narrative will change and ensure people stay alive.

“This year, we will be bringing the maximum volume from our plant of almost 380,000 tons. Before NLNG got involved in the LPG space, the total capacity of Nigeria’s consumption was about 50,000 tons.

“The capacity at the end of the year will be about one million tonnes, out of which we will be contributing almost 40 per cent. But we now have approval from our board to bring 450,000 tonnes of LPG in-country next year,” he explained.