By Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas company (NLNG), set to take the final investment decision (FID) to kickstart its $10 billion Train 7 this month, has equally unveiled a novel corporate social responsibility (CSR) project, a multi-million-naira Bonny Consulate building. The company said it is in appreciation of the island’s valid support of its trains 1-6, and a renewed willingness to cooperate with the gas company for upcoming train 7.
The two historic projects, if combined with the 35.68km Bonny-Bodo Road targeted by the Federal Government to complete in 2022, are described as going to relive Bonny’s six centuries of business history, which had begun in the 15th century, the time the island became a thriving trading port on the eastern delta of the Niger with the arrival of Portuguese trading explorers.
With FID expected this October, the NLNG shareholders – the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation–NNPC (49 percent), Shell Gas B.V. (25.6 percent), Total Gaz Electricité Holdings, France (15 per cent), and Eni International, Italy (10.4 per cent) – last month (September) signed the Letter of Intent for the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project. The letter, which expressed the intention to award the main contract, was issued to the preferred bidder, SCD JV Consortium, consisting of Saipem of Italy, Japan’s Chiyoda and Daewoo of South Korea.
The Train 7 project is expected to boost NLNG’s capacity by 35 percent from its present 22 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 30 million tonnes. It would also boost Nigeria’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production and help to reduce its import.
Tony Attah, NLNG’s managing director said the Bonny consulate building, which ground-breaking had taken place, is being designed as part of NLNG’s 20/30 anniversary in Bonny, Rivers State. NLNG undertakes the project in synergy with Julius Berger.
He told Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple, the Perekule III and Amanyanabo of Ancient Grand Bonny Kingdom that the NLNG management team, all past MDs and CEOs appreciated the roles Bonny Kingdom played during Trains 1 to 6, and appealed for more support as it (NLNG) prepares for Train 7.
Dappa Pepple said the project was an immeasurable support to the Kingdom, which he said, had been exceptionally blessed with natural endowments, pulling in varied economic interests since the 15th century, when it became a major trading port in the Eastern Delta and gateway to international trade with the arrival of the Portuguese.
He said the island’s natural deep-water seaport situated the Kingdom for trans-Atlantic trades from the era of slave trade to palm export, ivory and timber exports, up to the dispensation of oil and gas exports.
The monarch said the consulate building would host antiquities of different eras of trade and heterogeneous inventors who explored the island, realising the need to maintain our unique cultural heritage a tint of symbolic antiquities that we acquired from our long history of vast business interactions. In today’s world, if all those antiquities are rightly preserved, Bonny would be a tourist port of call, he said.
By far, a more impressive community project is the $333 million (N101.565 billion – $1 to N305) Bonny-Bodo Road, which runs through 35.68km of swampy and large waterbody terrain, to which NLNG has made $167 million (or N60 billion) financial contribution. It is described as the biggest CSR initiative by a private company in Nigeria. The road, being built by Julius Berger, in which the construction giant had done 60 percent work, would pass through Bodo (Ogoni), Afo, Opobo and Nanabie to Bonny Island, is expected relieve Bonny citizens of centuries of dangerous sea travels laced with pirate attacks, and further open up the island which also hosts the multi-billion-dollar Shell crude export terminal.
Pepple said NLNG goes beyond its distinctive initiatives to organisations in the Kingdom to pull resources together towards mega infrastructure development in Bonny. The consulate building is one such incident, as NLNG and Julius Berger Nigeria synergize to accomplish this project. This is a huge gift from NLNG to Bonny Kingdom, he said.