By Chioma Obinagwam
In the build-up towards Final Investment Decision (FID) later in 2018, Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) is seeking $7 billion from the global financial markets for the sustainability of its operations and expansion project which will increase its production capacity from 22 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) to 30 MTPA, NLNG disclosed in a statement issued by its Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Andy Odeh.
NLNG is a private limited liability company owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC (49 per cent), Shell Gas B.V. (25.6 per cent), Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France (15 per cent), and Eni International (10.4 per cent).
At a ceremony in London held at the weekend to commemorate the repayment of a US$5.45 billion Shareholder loan for its existing trains, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NLNG, Tony Attah, revealed that funds being sought will cover the company’s expansion program (construction of Train 7)and investment in the upstream gas sector in Nigeria that will ensure the sustainability of feedgas supply to its existing trains (Trains 1 to 6) and the new Train 7.
Explaining further, Attah remarked, “Let’s get this very clear. NLNG is a mid-stream company that has monetised over 5.96 Trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of Associated Gas (AG) which would have otherwise been flared thus helping to build a better Nigeria. However, what we are doing is not just looking to fund the expansion of the plant but also to ensure sustainability of feedgas supply to the plant, for the continued success of NLNG. All of these align with our belief that gas is a catalyst for industrial and economic transformation which will position Nigeria to become a leading gas producing country.”
According to Attah, “The success story of the NLNG project is due to some key critical success factors which include the shareholding and governance structure of the company that has made the company an independent Incorporated Joint Venture, guaranteeing an independent Board of Directors, effective decision making as well as funding for its projects which is critical for the sustenance of this successful project.
“Over decades, the company has raised funds for its projects, from a combination of Shareholders loans, internally generated revenue and third party loans. In all of these financial ventures, NLNG demonstrated financial discipline and character by abiding by loan covenants, terms and conditions without a single breach or default, and we believe this positions the company as a Lenders delight .
The consolidated loan contributed towards funding the Base Project, Expansion Project, NLNG Plus Project and Train 6. The final repayment, which is a milestone for NLNG and Nigeria, thus sends a strong message to the world that NLNG has come of age and will build on this in its expansion programme which will further increase our output and secure our position in the top quartile of LNG suppliers globally.
“Our financial credibility speaks for itself and we will be testing the financial market once again with our sustainability and expansion projects estimated at US$ 7 billion. Raising $7 billion is no small feat; anywhere in the world, this will be a major event.Therefore, we will be seeking support from the local and international financial institutions, our shareholders and the Nigerian government in bringing to reality the dreams of our founding fathers and achieving our vision of helping to build a better Nigeria,” he added.
In his closing remarks, the Deputy Managing Director of NLNG, Sadeeq Mai-Bornu, stated that NLNG has contributed immensely to Nigeria’s economy since its inception when the first LNG cargo was loaded in October 1999. He remarked that the company has paid over $33 billion in dividend. He also added that payment to Joint Venture (JV) feedgas suppliers by NLNG from inception till date amounts to some $24 billion.
Participants at the Shareholder loan repayment ceremony included members of NLNG Board of Directors, potential lenders and global financial institutions.