Brass LNG may suffer further delay as ConocoPhillips extends exit date

LNG08 November 2013, Lagos – The Final Investment Decision, FID, of the multi-billion dollar gas project, Brass Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG, Limited, may suffer further haemorrhage as one of its key shareholders, ConocoPhillips, COP, has rescheduled its final exit from the company to Marc h 2014.

An American oil firm, ConocoPhillips, whose global business focus and strategy got some re-engineering last year had unveiled its departure plan from Nigeria and particularly, the Brass LNG Project, to enable it pursue other business interests.

Investigation on the company’s protracted exit revealed that contrary to the earlier envisioned exit from the project, latest the last quarter of this year, the company had now extended its final departure date to March next year.

A source close to the company told THISDAY yesterday, that the delay of ConocoPhillips was hurting the Brass LNG project.

“Since their announcement that they were going they have decided to have one of their legs inside the Brass LNG Ltd and the other outside. Their posture is not adding any more value to the project because it is slowing down would-be investors from indicating interest. The latest information is that the ConocoPhillips had told the board of the Brass LNG that it does not intend to conclude their exit process before March 2014. This is massively hurting the project because until they leave the project, their presence will continue to negatively impact it,” he explained.

Largely seen at inception as a child of necessity, the Brass LNG Limited, he added, has now become a gas company that has attained a level of national strategic importance.

At its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in July this year, the chairman of the company’s Board of Directors, Dr. Jackson Gaius-Obaseki, had told the stakeholders that: “In my address to the AGM last year, you may recall that I expressed the view that the final investment decision (FID) for the Brass LNG Project was possible within year 2013 with the full commitment and unwavering efforts of all the Project participants. At that point it was not envisaged that the COP exit through the announced sale of their shareholding with its dampening effect on morale and confidence will be protracted.”

At its recent meeting in Paris, France, shareholders of the Brass LNG Limited reaffirmed their commitment to the project.

It was gathered from a source privy to the meeting that the shareholders expressed concern over what they called the protracted exit of ConocoPhillips from the project “as well as the current attitude of their licensing group.”

The shareholders, it was learnt, also insisted that “there are steps to be taken urgently to protect the interest of investors, LNG buyers as well as ensure maximum benefits to Nigerians and the government.”

The meeting had in attendance, the Chairman of Total Nigeria Limited, Mr. Jacques De Marraud; Chairman of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC/ENI), Mr. Roberto Casulla; Chairman of Brass LNG Limited, Dr. Jackson Gaius-Obaseki, and the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu.

– Ejiofor Alike, This Day

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