The shareholders, in the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Brass Island of Bayelsa State, said they have resolved the funding structure challenges, thus attaining a major milestone in the efforts to sign the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the multi-billion dollar project.
Speaking at the weekend in Lagos, during a send forth party organised for the most senior representative of ConocoPhillips and General Manager in charge of Brass Facilities, Mr. Joao De Oliveira, the Chairman of the Board of Brass LNG, Dr. Jackson Gauis-Obaseki, said the resolution of the funding structure challenges was part of the decision reached at a recent meeting held by the shareholders in London.
He assured the retiring ConocoPhillips manager that the project would be delivered soonest.
“You have delivered on the Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC). The confidence reposed in you has been justified. I assure you that the project has reached a point of no return and must happen. The shareholders have agreed on major issues including the funding structure,” Gauis-Obaseki said.
Gauis-Obaseki said with the conclusion of the agreement on funding, the only immediate hurdle facing the Brass LNG project was the resolution of issues surrounding gas supply. He, however, stated that the shareholders had already known those that would supply gas for the project, adding that the only outstanding issue was for the shareholders to meet among themselves on the one hand and then with the federal government to provide the comfort that would be required.
“The shareholders have agreed on the structure for funding and what remains is the internal mechanics. We know today the contractors that will build the plant. That was not known before. We have only one hurdle and that is the finalisation of issues surrounding gas supply. But we know those that will supply the gas. And the gas is not imported; it is in Nigeria. What is left is for the shareholders and the suppliers to put their acts together and engage the government as required. No matter what happens, this project will be done,” Gauis-Obaseki added.
Gauis-Obaseki also assured De Oliveira that his efforts in delivering the EPC for the Brass LNG project would not be in vain.
Also speaking, the Group General Manager in charge of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Power at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, said the local shareholders and the Brass LNG project had enjoyed immense technical benefits from ConocoPhillips, through De Oliveira’s style.
“We would love if you had taken this project through the FID but as destiny would have it, you decided to retire,” Baru said.
The Brass LNG project is designed to produce 10million metric tonnes of LNG per year. The NNPC holds 49 per cent equity in the project, while United States owned oil company, ConocoPhillips; French oil giant, Total and Italian company ENI hold 17 per cent stake apiece in the project.
However, the NNPC plans to divest 17 per cent of its stake in the project after the FID.
Of the 17 per cent to be divested, Bayelsa and Rivers State Governments are proposed to take five per cent each, while the
remainder would go to NNPC’s strategic investors.
ConocoPhillips is also planning to divest its stake. With a pre-FID expenditure of about $1billion, a lot of early works have been completed on the site, demonstrating the faith of the shareholders in the project.