By Etuka Sunday
Nigeria inched closer to its target of bridging projected shortfall in domestic gas supply with the inauguration of the Asa North/Ohaji South (ANOH) Gas Processing Company, a partnership between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Seplat Petroleum Nigeria Limited, expected to deliver 300millon standard cubic of gas per day to the domestic market.
The project, an integral part of the 7 Critical Gas Development Project (7CGDP) of the NNPC, is designed to abridge the estimated 3.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day shortfall which could arise as demand increases to about 7 bcf/d by 2020.
At the inauguration, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, urged board members to sustain the momentum and ensure timely delivery of the project not just within budget but below the budget without compromising the industry best practices of zero incidences.
‘‘We believe that a private sector driven project should deliver much faster, hence we came up with a structure outside the existing Joint Venture with the intent of getting the appropriate entities to participate in the project.’’
He emphasized that NNPC was fully committed to the initiative and would do whatever possible to keep the dream alive and ensure smooth delivery of the project.
Speaking on behalf of Board members, Chairman of the Board, Engr. Saidu Mohammed, who also doubles as NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Gas & Power, affirmed the determination of the company’s directors to work assiduously with Management to ensure attainment of set tasks and targets.
Engr. Mohammed described the inauguration as history in the making, noting that this was the first time a midstream company had been unbundled to run on its own from a JV operations. He expressed confidence that board members would ensure full activation of the shareholders agreement and grow the company to enviable heights in line with agreed timelines.
On his part, Engr. Austin Avuru, Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Petroleum, described the event as memorable for the indigenous firm.
He noted that under the watch of the NNPC GMD, Seplat and the corporation, had made progress in terms of cementing a partnership that is none acrimonious, saying that Dr. Baru had moved that level of support to the current venture.
According to him the GMD demonstrated his confidence in indigenous operators by allowing “a modest Nigeria Company like Seplat, to strike this kind of JV with NNPC to deliver a project that is not far from a billion USD and to deliver 300mscf/d into the domestic market and to structure a company to do what others may start doing in future – establishing a stand-alone midstream company.’’
The AGPC functions as a partnership between Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of the NNPC, and Seplat Petroleum under a 50-50 equity structure.