- As BoI approves N5bn intervention fund for miners
- Oil marketers cry out over $2b debts
The Chairman of Greenville, an oil and gas company, Mr Eddy van den Broeke on Tuesday in Abuja assured that his company would invest $500 million in the nation’s gas sector.
He said the investment would be in collaboration with NNPC/Total Joint Venture and Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria.
Van den Broeke indicated this, after the signing of the Gas Sales and Aggregation Agreement, GSAA deal at the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC headquarters, Abuja.
According to him, Greenville, in spite of the absence of banks’ support, will invest in the first three mini Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG, plants in Africa.
”The big challenge today is that no bank is available to finance this investment because of the temporary problems that Nigeria is going through.
”We have taken the bold step in saying this country will come back in the next two or three years, with the revolution going on in the country and development of more agriculture.
”It will allow Nigeria to get back to a stronger financial position again.
‘’The investment is around $500 million in the first phase, and we will go up to about $850 million and completely on equity without any bank financing.
”We hope that in the second phase, as the minister has said today, more assistance will be given.
‘’Once the people see the investment and once the product comes to the market, automatically, there will be confidence and we have to build the confidence.”
The Managing Director/Chief Executive of TOTAL, Mr Nicolas Terraz, said the signing was ”a demonstration of our support to the Nigerian government’s objectives to develop local industrial capacities.
”This will encourage direct foreign investment; boost GDP in line with the President’s agenda on gas-based industrialisation,” he said.
He said the belief in the sector was that international oil companies did not like to invest in the downstream sector ”but today is a demonstration that it is not necessarily the case.
”We are committed. Our mission is not only to produce but also to supply gas to the people and the domestic market.
”Three years ago, a lot of people did not believe we will start this project and here we are, we will start in a month.
‘’We are here to support government’s expansion in its domestic gas market and we are committed to contribute to this expansion project. Investing in domestic gas market is possible”, he stated further.
Mr Morgan Okwoche, Managing Director of Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria, said NNPC would supply 74 millions of scf to Greenville from OML 58 in Rumuoji, Rivers.
”Greenville will transport the product with specialised LNG trucks, can travel 1,000 kilometres and will not damage the roads because it is not heavy.
”The agreement will boost embedded power generation in Nigeria because areas that cannot be reached by normal pipelines can be reached with the virtual pipelines.
”LNG fuelling stations will spring up along Nigerian highways and moribund industries will be revived,” he said.
Mr Dada Thomas, President, Nigeria Gas Association said the project was the first of its kind and transited to a modular mini LNG project.
”I am looking forward to more micro LNG projects, moving products from the Niger Delta to more consumers.
”If this happens, we will have a way of supplying power to stranded Nigerians and ensure employment to millions of youths,” he said
In the meantime, the Bank of Industry and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development on Tuesday sealed a N5bn financing pact under the Artisanal and Small-scale Miners Financing Support Fund for the development of the mining sector.
The amount, which is to be disbursed to the miners at a single-digit interest rate of five per cent with a repayment period of between one year and five years, is aimed at addressing the funding challenges in the sector.
Present at the event were the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; the Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, and other top government officials.
Pitan described the agreement as a move that would catalyse the growth and development of the sector to enable it to facilitate job creation, poverty reduction and increase in revenue for the nation.
He said that under the agreement, both the ministry and the BoI would provide the N5bn under a matching fund arrangement of N2.5bn each.
Giving further insights into the modalities for the disbursement, Pitan said each artisanal miner would be entitled to a loan of between N100,000 and N10m while small-scale miners would get between N10m and N100m.
In another development, oil marketers are set to send thousands of workers away – unless the Federal Government pays its debts.
The debts are owed on importation of petroleum products, accrued interest on loans from banks and exchange rate differential.
Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs), in a joint communiqué yesterday after a meeting in Lagos, said many marketers and oil companies were owing workers at least eight months salaries because the Federal Government failed to pay the huge debts owed since 2015.
Additional report from Punch and Nation