NNPC denies spending $22 billion on Brass LNG project

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday said spent only $1.2 billion on the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project as against $22 billion being reported in public space.

Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Bayelsa State, which was initiated about 15 years ago has reportedly robbed the country over $24 billion in estimated revenue and no fewer than 18, 000 jobs.

Going by the plan of the project sited over 606 hectares of land, shareholders, including NNPC, were expected to have taken the first Final Investment Decisions (FIDs) since 2007, and recoup their investment in the first five years by 2012.

NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, in a statement said if the project had been completed, the country would have produced additional 10 million metric tons of gas yearly, and also secure a brighter future in the international energy market.

Speaking at the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating the expenditure and implementation of the $22 billion project, the Corporation’s General Manager, New LNG Venture, Ahmed Dikko, said the various stakeholders so far spent $1.2 billion to take the project to its current stage.

Dikko, who was quoted in in the statement as saying: “This sum included the cost of acquiring project land, which covers approximately 606 hectares, early works contract, Front End Engineering Design (FEED) and Pre-FEED Concept Evaluation Study (PFCES).”

It also covered Project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), comprising both onshore and offshore studies, dredging, EIA activities and ambient noise survey, displacement and settlement action plan (FED-RAP), cultural site heritage study, staff and administration project cost from inception, as well as sustainable development cost, among others.

Dikko explained that the project, which was conceived and designed to assist in monetizing the nation’s natural gas resources, reduce gas flaring and create jobs for the Niger Delta youths, was already at a critical point of FID before its major partner, Conoco Philips, pulled out.

He noted that as contained in the shareholders’ agreement, Conoco Philips, whose investment amounted to $192m received only $1 as entitlement.

He added, however, that Conoco Philips’ exit constituted a setback, insisting that the NNPC’s decision to work with the company to deliver the project was due to its readiness to provide requisite technology to drive the process.

Dikko assured that NNPC and the other shareholders had considered other simpler options to complete the project.

He maintained that the total estimated sum needed to complete the project was far from the amount being alleged, noting that NNPC deployed its negotiation capacity to get better value for the country.

“At inception, the cost of building the plant was estimated at $18 billion and not $22 billion, using Optimized Cascade Technology (A Conoco Philips LNG technology) of 2-train (10MTPA).

“However, this estimate was further reviewed downwards to about $16.5 billion CAPEX value in October, 2016 under project economics comparison carried out with PFCES of APCI Case Technology assumption,” he stated.

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