*Declare facility will ease congestion at Apapa, save cost of operation
The relief received by the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry with the successful completion and inauguration of Pinnacle Oil’s ultramodern offshore subsea petroleum intake and offtake terminal at the Lekki Free Zone, Lagos has continued to generate endorsements from major industry stakeholders and policy makers.
President Muhammadu Buhari at the weekend, unveiled the over $1 billion facility, which is made up of a Single Point Mooring (SPM) and the Conventional Buoy Mooring (CBM) facility including a storage facility of between 300 million to one billion litres of petroleum products capacity.
Some of the dignitaries who spoke at the event included the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Mr. Farouk Ahmed ; Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mallam Mele Kyari; and the Chairman of the Lekki Free Zone Development Company, Mr. Abiodun Dabiri, amongst others.
They said the facility would significantly transform Nigeria’s downstream sector having addressed the challenges hitherto experienced with multiple handlings associated with discharging products from mother vessels through Daughter vessels with attendant delays, high costs and gridlock in Apapa.
In his remarks, Sanwo-Olu, said the Pinnacle terminal in the lekki Free Trade Zone was another landmark private sector investment in Lagos State -the state of aquatic splendour in the commercial and economic nerve center of the country.
According to him, our message has always been that Lagos is open to business and investment and this is yet another demonstration of that.
As the nation’s largest sub-national economy, the governor said they understand what their responsibilities were, which includes to lead by example, to create that enabling environment most conducive for investment across all sectors.
“I’ve had the privilege to be here a couple of times, Peter Mbah and I had walked through this facility before, and I can say to you that indeed, it’s beholding and it’s a manifestation of the very strong can-do spirit that we have in our country in Nigeria.
“I think Peter deserves another round of applause. Free Trade Zone which is the Lekki Free Zone is the most active and vibrant free zone we have in the country, and it comes with a lot of history. It comes with a lot of vision that has been put together by one of my predecessors, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, way back in 2006,
“We can begin to see that the implementation of such vision, with successive governments also pushing in and raising the bar, is why we’re here today seated comfortably and to commission this edifice”, Sanwo-Olu said.
He said he had been told that the petroleum products terminal has been designed to make possible the direct transfer of products from large vessel to the CBM and SPM facilities.
“What this means is that vessels that wouldn’t come around here, 90,000 deadweight (DWT) tons, and 150000 DWT can conveniently berth here and discharge their products effectively within the minimum turnaround.
“There is no need for smaller ships to be deployed to transfer products to and from larger vessels which was often very necessitated at many other parting locations, which I’m told can take as long as 30 to 45 days.
“On the other hand, the direct transfer that is possible here can be done within a maximum of two days,” he added.
In addition, the Lagos Governor noted that the facility could store up to 300 million litres of refined petroleum products, maintaining that by all standards, “this is an impressive, audacious facility built to the highest standards available anywhere in the world.”
According to him, what is even more interesting is that, it’s only the first phase of a larger plan that is out there, which will have a capacity to store as much as a billion litres of petroleum products.
Observing that the Pinnacle facility would not only serve Nigeria, Sanwo-Olu added that it has also been positioned to look at the opportunity of export on the West African corridor, covering that single market, which Lagos would continue to remain the commercial and logistics hub of the entire West African region.
Also in his remarks, Ahmed described the terminal as a major breakthrough in instilling efficiency in the downstream sector.
Assuring Pinnacle of the agency’s collaboration and support for investing in the sector, Farouk enjoined the company and other investors to always come to the Authority for support and assistance.
“I’m indeed delighted to be here to witness the commissioning of this huge facility. It is indeed a breakthrough in instilling efficiency in the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas. We are delighted to be here.
“We assure you that NMDPRA will collaborate with you and all those who are interested in investing in the mid and downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas. We will support you and we will be collaborating with you.
“And if there’s any area that you need support, please, by all means, do not hesitate to come forward. I also wish to acknowledge the contribution of Lagos State towards this project, as well as others that will eventually make this area the hub for Nigeria oil and gas,” he said
Noting that the inauguration of the facility was an exciting moment for the agency, Farouk pointed out that Lagos Free Zone would be a major hub for not only West Africa but Africa as a whole and that Nigeria would benefit greatly from the economic benefits of these investments.
However, Kyari described the Pinnacle terminal as the largest exit point for petroleum products currently in Nigeria, adding that the facility has clearly demonstrated capacity by easing delivery of petroleum products in many parts of the country and during difficult situations.
He said, “We have transformed, we are a commercial company, we have partners, and one of the great partners that we have is Pinnacle Oil and Gas. Without mincing words, this is the largest exit point for petroleum product that we have today.
“We will always remember that the exit point that will work for us in recent times is the Pinnacle facility. I congratulate you Peter for great work done, and for us at NNPCL, we will continue to partner with you and other stakeholders, other investors in this space as we continue to provide energy security for our country, which is very critical for all of us.
“All this wouldn’t have happened except there is an enabling environment. That enabling environment was surely created by Mr. President in the last seven years by allowing regulation to work, by allowing investors to have access to financing, supporting them in every way, and also bringing a framework which culminated in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) coming in place to make sure that business works in the energy sector.”
Kyari said NNPC sees a great opportunity unfolding, particularly for Lagos with growth in population and as well as the substantial growth in energy requirements despite the conversations around energy transition.
According to him, the massive growth in today’s Nigerian economy requires energy, adding that facilities like the Pinnacle terminal would become very primary in the journey towards energy sufficiency and security.
Kyari noted that the largest concentration of downstream facilities was in Lagos and that they rely on Lagos to have energy security in the coming years while they continue to diversify in the best interests of Lagos because of the associated challenges, which the Pinnacle facility has helped to resolve.
Also speaking, Dabiri said the successful actualisation of the construction of the ultramodern terminal would go a long way in transforming Lagos into a world-class mega city.
As part of this modern industrial hub evolving in Lekki Peninsula, he added that Pinnacle’s successful completion of the terminal facility was particularly satisfying on account of the levels of perseverance required to bring it to fruition.
Dabiri stated, “The project is a true testament of the importance of the resilience as an ingredient of business success, especially in a developing country like Nigeria.
“To arrive at the success we are about to commission today, we had on several occasions, to travel with a promoter to sell the concept to various technical partners.
“I recall the number of trips Peter and I had to make to travel to sell the concept to various partners, many of whom failed to appreciate the attractiveness of the opportunity due to their fears about the risk to invest in Nigeria as a whole, or due to their insistence on a firm contract, which were simply not practical in the Nigerian oil industry, given the early stage of the project.”
He maintained that beyond the joy stemming from the sense of relief and fulfillment on the completion of the construction, there was also the excitement from the fact that the terminal was no doubt poised to redefine the trajectory of the Nigerian downstream oil and gas industry, with the first major development at the Lekki Free Zone oil and gas section.