From Uche Usim, Abuja
Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, has said that the Federal Government was shopping for investors to complete the stalled Brass Liquified Natural Gas (BLNG) project abandoned over 17 years ago.
Speaking during an inspection of the project site, in Twon Brass, Bayelsa State, at the weekend, with management of Greenville NLG, an interested investor in the BLNG, Sylva said the government was desirous of completing the project because of the manifold economic benefits it will bring to the nation.
The BNLG, which has trains 1-4 concept, with an annual projected capacity of 8.4 million metric tons, was initiated in 2005 with the ground breaking ceremony performed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on May 14, 2007.
The Minister, who was joined on the tour of the project site by the Chairman and Managing Director of Greenville LNG Mr Eddy Van Den Broeke and Ritu Sahajwalla, said the Federal Government would give the project top priority because of its present policy thrust in gas exploration in the country.
“You know the direction of the government as far as gas is concerned. We want to use gas as transition fuel and also to use it to diversify our economy. You know that with gas you can get so many things and I have said that we can truly diversify our economy through gas,” he said.
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The Minister who acknowledged the challenges faced in successfully executing the project in the past noted that the government would do everything possible to encourage Greenville NLG in investment in the multi-billion dollar BNLG noting that “we want this project to pull through this time and we will do everything possible to ensure that the Final Investment Decision (FDI) is taken as soon as possible.
“Greenville NLG is a major player in this sector and we know that they are committed to ensuring that the takeoff of this project is achieved. We will continue to discuss and offer the necessary incentives to get this project off the ground,” he stated further.
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While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for creating the enabling environment for businesses in the country, the minister urged western nations to shore up their investments in the oil and gas sector in the country lamenting that the speed at which investments were pulled out of Nigeria in the past hampered the growth of the sector.
“We are calling for more investments in the hydrocarbon sector of the economy, especially in gas. We are encouraging companies interested in gas to do so. We have enough gas reserve in the country and we are encouraging anyone with capacity to bring in their investments,” Sylva said.
Present investors in the Brass NLG project are the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Eni and Total.