NNPC, Sahara Group invest $300m in gas carriers to drive Africa’s clean energy access

PICTURE CAPTION
L-R:
Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Korea, Ali Magashi; Group Mangaing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari; Executive Director, Sahara Group and Chairman, WAGL Energy Limited, Temitope Shonubi and Group Executive Director, NNPC Gas and Power, Ahmed Abdulkabir at the Hyundai Shipyard, Ulsan, South Korea

By Bassey Udo

To enhance its capacity to deliver on its target of providing energy access in Africa, one of Nigeria’s most active indigenous oil and gas players, Sahara Group, along with Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), took delivery of two 23,000 CBM Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) vessels at the Hyundai MIPO Shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.

The company said it also has plans to add 10 more vessels to the fleet in the next 10 years, to enhance Africa’s transition to cleaner fuels.

The new vessels include MT BARUMK and MT SAPET have increased the NNPC and Sahara Group’s joint venture investment to over $300million, with the JV targeting over $1billion gas infrastructure commitment by 2026.

The fleet previously comprised of MT Sahara Gas and MT Africa Gas. All the four vessels were built by Hyundai MIPO Dockyard, a foremost global manufacturer of mid-sized carriers.

WAGL Energy Limited, the JV company between NNPC and Oceanbed (a Sahara Group Company) was driving NNPC’s five-year $1 billion investment plan announced in 2021 to accelerate the decade of Gas and Energy transition agenda over the period.

NNPC’s GMD, Mele Kyari disclosed that an order of three additional new vessels was being finalised, adding, “we have a target of delivering 10 vessels over the next 10 years.

“The NNPC and our partners stand out with integrity in our energy transition quest and our commitment to environmental sustainability is unwavering,” the company said.

MT BARUMK and MT SAPET are WAGL and Sahara Group’s injection into the JV. WAGL is shoring up its gas fleet and terminal infrastructure, while Sahara Group continues to make remarkable progress in the construction of over 120,000 metric tonnes of storage facilities in 11 African countries, including Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, and Zambia, among others.

Kyari said the vessels were critical to driving the Federal Government’s commitment to the domestication of gas in Nigeria through several initiatives and increasing seamless supply in compliance with the mandate of President Muhammad Buhari.

The initiatives – the LPG Penetration Framework and LPG Expansion Plan are geared towards encouraging the use of gas in households, power Generation, auto-gas and industrial applications in order to attain 5 Million Metric tonnes of LPG consumption by 2025.

“This is another epoch-making achievement for the NNPC and Sahara Group, and we remain firmly committed to delivering more formidable gas projects for the benefit of Nigeria and the entire sub-region,” Kyari said.

Executive Director Sahara Group, Temitope Shonubi, said: “WAGL has successfully operated two mid-sized LPG Carriers MT Africa Gas and MT Sahara Gas in the region in keeping with global standards, delivering over six million CBM of LPG across West Africa. With the new vessels we are set to promote and lead Africa’s march towards energy transition.”

Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Korea, Ali Magashi, who represented the Federal Government, noted that President Muhammad Buhari deserved commendation for the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which he said would help reposition the NNPC to explore more projects with partners like Sahara Group.

Also in attendance were NNPC Group Executive Director, Gas and Power, Ahmed Abdulkabir; Group Executive Director, NNPC Upstream, Tombomieye Adokiye; Deputy Managing Director, NLNG, Olalekan Ogunleye, General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Services (NAPIMS), Bala Wunti, Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed; NMDPRA ED, Finance, Abiodun Adeniji, ED, Sahara Group and WAGL alternate Chairman, Emmanuel Ubani, Managing Director, WAGL, among others.

“BARUMK” was derived from the combination of the name and initials of the late NNPC GMD, Maikanti K. Baru, in
memory of his support towards the Gas development in Nigeria. “SAPET” is named after the Sahara – Petroci (the Ivorian National Oil Company) JV LPG Company (SAPET Energy SA.), currently constructing phase one of a 12,000MT LPG storage facility in Abidjan, with expansion plans to achieve 30,000MT in phase two. The JV emerged from WAGL’s trading relationship with PETROCI, dating back to 2014.

In Cote D’Ivoire, Sahara Group has invested over $405 million since 2014 into facilitating the supply of LPG to give over 26 million Ivorians access to safe and reliable access to the product.

LPG is the fastest growing petroleum product in sub-Sahara Africa over the last decade, with forecasts indicating that LPG would grow at 7 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the next 15 years.

Increased uptake of LPG would reduce net Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and pressure on forest reserves, thereby increasing environmental sustainability.

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