21 June 2015, Lagos – Nigeria’s maritime sector appears set to compete with South Africa’s as the Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, moves to attract foreign investment for a $1.5 billion (about N300 billion) shipyard begin to pay off.
NLNG, owned by Nigeria’s state-oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), UK’s Royal Dutch Shell, French oil company Total and Italy’s Eni, has been holding discussions with strategic investors for the project.
Spokesman for the nation’s gas company, Mr Tony Okonedo, told Reuters that Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries have both agreed to invest funds towards the construction of the facility, which would be located in Badagry, Lagos.
NLNG had organised a roadshow earlier this year to market the dry dock project to investors, which included multinational oil companies in Nigeria, with large exploration and upstream activities.
When completed, the shipyard ‘’could potentially be used to transport a 2.5 million barrels a day crude business in Nigeria,” Okonedo said.
Nigeria is the world’s eighth biggest crude producer and Africa’s top oil exporter but it does not have a drydock for maintaining and repairing large crude vessels, a major drawback for carriers sailing to the country, Okonedo told Reuters, adding that only South Africa had such a facility on the continent.
Currently about 12 companies operate shipyards in Nigeria with Nigerdock, another federal government owned shipping concern, playing a leading role in the area of ship building and repairs in Nigeria.
West Atlantic Shipyard, one of the few private organisations in the shipyard business, set up on Bonny
River, in the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, Port Harcourt – River state, came on stream in 2005 to build and support ships for the offshore oil and gas industry in accordance with the Nigerian Coastal and Inland Shipping Act and in keeping with the spirit of promoting “local content”.
The NLNG project would position Nigeria as a dominant shipping hub in the Gulf of Guinea, competing effectively with South Africa where big vessels presently go to in Africa for all major services.
“The construction of the dry dock, with a size that can accommodate 185 football fields, will take up to 48 months to complete and would commence once all the funding is in place”, Okonedo said.
*Emeka Anaeto – Vanguard