Succour came the way of Nigeria recently when a visiting German trade delegation announced their interest in the country’s Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG. For a country like Nigeria that has been searching for a way to expand its LNG market into Europe, this gesture is not only a boost, but also a lifeline.
The German delegates to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC Towers met with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu and were clear on their mission. Led by Germany’s Vice Minister for Economic Affairs & Energy and Member of the German Parliament, Uwe Beckmeyer, they said that their aim was to seek the development of a business relationship with Nigeria and to accelerate the supply of LNG especially in the country’s ship building industry.
Beckmeyer expressed the belief that Nigeria’s LNG would come in handy, most especially now that his country and other European industrial powers are trying to cut down drastically on Carbon dioxide (C02) emissions arising from heavy industrial operations, since LNG is far friendlier to the environment. “We have a lot of interest in LNG and I think this is one special thing we should develop in the next few years. I think there is increasing demand in Europe especially as we seek to reduce emissions. It is useful for both sides to develop this special business relationship,’’ Beckmeyer said last week in Abuja during the delegates visit.
Obviously a good opportunity that could not be left for second thoughts as Global oil prices have fallen sharply over the recent months, leading to substantial revenue deficits in many energy-exporting countries. That could best explain why Kachikwu immediately told the delegation that the Nigerian oil and gas sector is ready to embrace the interest for improved business relationship expressed by the German trade delegation, saying that the Federal Government is working assiduously with other relevant stakeholders to ensure the activation of LNG Trains 7 which would help accommodate potential off-takers from new markets.
The news on the potential partnership came at a time when Kachikwu and his team were receiving accolades from the Nigerian Governors Forum for what they described as the satisfactory performance of the Minister since he took over as NNPC’s Group Managing Director and Minister. “What we are seeing is not the NNPC of yesterday, you can see for yourself the change we are talking about. In the last eight years you have not seen a group of governors coming to NNPC to find out what is going on as critical stakeholders. So you can see the change we are talking about,’’ Zamfara State Governor and Chairman of the NGF, Mallam Abdulaziz Yari said. Yari claimed that the visit of the governors to the NNPC Towers was indicative of the level of confidence the forum has in Kachikwu.
The NNPC had announced its plans to build new mega fuel stations in every senatorial district across the country, an initiative the governors unanimously pledged their readiness to support.