By Etuka Sunday
The Danish Government will guarantee a 10 per cent equity financing of a Joint Venture Company involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and a Danish firm, Unibio A/S Limited.
The proposed JV Company would be engaged in the production of animal feeds from Nigeria’s abundant natural gas resources through conversion of methane gas into protein and has no negative impact for human consumption.
The animal feeds industry in Nigeria accounts for N800 billion annually.
NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, who made this known on Wednesday in Abuja when he received a Delegation from Denmark led by the Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Torben Gettermann, said such collaboration would have positive impact on the Nigerian economy in the area of revenue generation, food security and job creation.
Represented by the NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Ventures, Dr. Babatunde Adeniran, the GMD said that NNPC was considering partnership with the Danish company to utilize the abundant natural gas resources in the country for the production of animal feeds as part of its diversification agenda into non-oil ventures like other national oil companies to generate additional revenue for the country.
“This proposal, though it is coming newly, has already started gaining traction in the industry and across the globe especially in Europe. Nigeria being the first point of call in Africa, we can leverage on the opportunity to increase the revenue of the country through local food production,” Dr. Baru stated.
A statement by the NNPC’s spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu quoted the GMD to have described the project as laudable, saying it was capable of making positive impact on the country’s economy, adding that the Corporation would look at the proposal holistically to ensure that Nigeria drives maximum benefit from it.
Dr. Baru applauded the Federal Government for providing an enabling business environment which has already started attracting investors into the country.
Speaking at the meeting, the Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Torben Gettermann, stated that Unibio had revolutionized natural gas conversion into animal feeds.
“There are huge possibilities in view of the demands for this kind of feeds and it will boost food production in Nigeria tremendously. The benefits are not only in local production and consumption of the feeds but also in terms of revenue generation in foreign currencies through export,” Mr. Gettermann stated.
He said Nigeria was an important partner to the Danish Government both politically and economically, adding that the Danish Government had established a special office in Lagos to facilitate trade relationship between the two countries.
Shedding more light on the proposal, the Chief Executive Officer of Unibio A/S Limited, Mr. Henrik Busch-Larsen stated that his company owned the right to a unique fermentation technology known as U-Loop Technologywhich enables natural gas conversion into a highly concentrated protein product calledUniprotein.
Busch-Larsen said the product could be used to feed such animals as pigs, poultry, and fish.
Mr. Busch-Larsen explained that Uniproteinhad a raw protein content of at least 72% which is a key component in animal feeds and can conveniently substitute the traditional proteins in animal feeds such as fishmeal and soybeans.
Multinational food/care products companies as Nestlé, Procter and Gamble, (P&G) and Colgate-Palmolive, he noted, had already started using the products as feedstock.