Increasing LNG availability in Nigeria will support new sustainable development models for Nigerian industries

by Ken Etete, Group CEO, Century Group.

Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest LNG exporters. Since the first train at Nigeria LNG was commissioned in 1999, the country has built a massive LNG export complex with a capacity of 22.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). Last year, it held a 6% market share of the global LNG export market and was the world’s 6th largest exporter of the commodity.

But while Nigeria’s gas has benefited industrialization and power generation overseas, LNG has remained relatively absent of its domestic market. This is now changing along with the government promotion of gas as a transition fuel and increasing private sector investment into virtual gas pipelines.

At the Century Group, we have always believed that gas was meant to play a bigger role in supporting Nigeria’s industrialisation and energy access. As early as 2011, we set up Gas Plus Synergy (GPS) to support the monetization of associated gas and reduce carbon emissions across the country’s oil & gas sector. In 2021, our efforts paid off with the signing of a Sales & Purchase Agreement with Nigeria LNG for the delivery of LNG to the domestic market.

Moving forward, we will continue to expand Nigeria’s domestic gas value-chain, and are committed to incentivize the switching from diesel to gas across sectors such as manufacturing and transport. This will support new sustainable development models for Nigerian industries, and ultimately make the economy more resilient.

As Nigeria recovers from a recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and crash in oil prices, there are several reasons to be bullish on the future of its domestic gas market.

To begin with, the country has increasingly become aware of the potential to develop its 206 Tcf of gas reserves both for the domestic and for the export markets. The 2020-2030 period has been declared “Decade of Gas” and is seeing several incentives to boost gas monetization. Nigeria has also taken a clear stance in favor of gas even as it thrives to reach net 0 emissions by 2060.

Market dynamics are also evolving in a favorable way and will be providing positive grounds to support gas adoption moving forward. Throughout the end of 2021 and first quarter of 2022, fluctuating commodity prices have sent diesel prices soaring, generating significant operational expenses for Nigerian industries that heavily rely on diesel for power generators and logistics. As a result, demand for cheaper and cleaner fuels such as CNG and LNG is growing.

It is now up to Nigerian companies and financiers to step up and meet the needs of the hour.

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How decentralisation can support the expansion of Africa’s refining sector

by Souheil Abboud, Managing Director, VFuels LLC. Africa’s refining capacity has traditionally been concentrated around key hubs in Algeria, Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria. Combined, these four countries represent almost 75% of Africa’s installed refining capacity thanks to large-scale refineries that operate with various levels of reliability. However, Nigeria and South Africa have lost their status of refining hubs in recent years. Nigeria because of under-investment and lack of maintenance in its three state-owned refineries, and South Africa because of the gradual shut-down or conversion of its own facilities. As most African nations seek to secure their fuel supplies by building their own refineries, modular technologies and designs have been on the rise. While the trend first emerged out of Nigeria, it has quickly spread across the continent and modular refineries are now being built from West to Southern Africa. Modular technology solutions make it possible to address several critical challenges and needs of emerging markets, especially in Africa. They notably offer clients the opportunity to set up a refinery in approximately 13+ months from inception to start of production. This compares favorably with the 3+ years for a traditional “stickbuilt” refinery. Such decentralized assets also avoid a lot of the regular land, infrastructure, and logistics challenges associated with larger projects. Modular refineries have a quick return on investment (RoI) of approximately 2 years, enabling developers and their investors the ability to recoup their invested capital sooner. They offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to capex and opex, and the ability to gradually invest in additional modules to support capacity expansion over time. Finally, the modular refining technology makes project’s development simple and efficient. It notably requires less manpower and direct supervision, which in turn provides significant costs savings and reduced operating expenses. At VFuels, we have developed a solid track record of executing modular refinery projects for African clients. These include the 5,000 bpd Waltersmith refinery in Nigeria, the 10,000 bpd Conex refinery in Liberia, and the 30,000 bpd Cabinda refinery in Angola where factory acceptance tests (FAT) were completed in May 2022. As we continue to support Africa’s energy security agenda with modular refinery solutions, we also believe in the sustainability of African infrastructure assets. Earlier this year, we entered into a joint venture agreement with Earth Technologies to develop and install clean energy infrastructure for African oil & gas assets, including refineries. We also set up a collaboration with EMCO Engineering to develop water treatment facilities and deploy controls and digital solutions across various sectors in Africa.

We must provide Nigerian operators with a modular approach to gas commercialisation

by Kayode Adeleke, CEO, RusselSmith Nigeria has made significant efforts in reducing the flaring of associated gas over the past few years. However, we are still a long way from eliminating routine flaring in the country, and too much gas remains wasted and burnt into the atmosphere. Whilst commendable initiatives such as the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme (NGFCP) have been put in place by the government to monetize associated gas, the private sector needs to step up and find new ways to build the processing and monetization infrastructure that we need to extract as much value as possible from our gas. Globally, the oil & gas industry has succeeded in finding ways to transform even the smallest quantities of gas into commodities such as diesel, naphtha, LPG, CNG, or LNG. With its vast gas reserves, Nigeria offers a fertile ground to adopt such innovations, and the Nigerian services industry has an important role to play in introducing world-class gas processing technologies to the Nigerian market. A key challenge to the elimination of flaring in Nigeria is the proliferation of flare sites across the Niger Delta, which have made it more difficult to access or aggregate gas. However, this challenge presents unique opportunities for service companies to deploy modular and small-scale gas processing solutions from an off-take as small as 2 MMscf/d. Nigerian services companies are particularly wellplaced to take on such a responsibility, given the strong capacity that they have built over the past decade. Their ability to attract and work with global technology providers can help turn the country’s gas into valuable commodities for its industries and its economy. Nigeria already has several success stories of local companies working with global partners to monetize flared gas. With the recent introduction of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), now is the time to build on these successes and take them to the next level. At RusselSmith, we see tremendous prospects in gas, from small to large scale developments. In order to support the decarbonization of upstream operations and increase the availability of key products such as cooking gas, RusselSmith, through its gas subsidiary, G2L Energy Solutions, is notably working with an international partner to offer new and modular gas-to-liquids technology solutions to the Nigerian market. Our commitment to improving gas commercialization is driven by a firm belief that the success of any industry depends on the ability of its service providers to be innovative and provide their market with sustainable solutions.