Nigeria targets maritime economy with seaport projects

View of the Lekki Deepsea Port commissioned in January 2023 within the Lagos Free Zone. Picture: Lekki Deep Sea Port LFTZ Enterprise Ltd

Nigeria has approved seaport development projects in three states of the country’s southern region as part of push to expand port infrastructure and services that will boost revenue in Africa’s biggest economy.

The Federal Executive Council’s approval will allow the development of the Ondo Multi-purpose Port in Ilaje, Ondo State; the expansion of Snake Island Terminal in Lagos State; and the expansion and development of Burutu Seaport in Delta State; all through public-private partnerships (PPP).

By 2030, Africa’s Blue Economy, a key priority area of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, is estimated to grow to $405 billion, generating 57 million jobs, according to the African Union.

For Nigeria, the development of seaports projects could strengthen its position as a major hub and gateway within Africa’s growing maritime economy.  

As the Nigeria Ports Authority confirmed the approval of seaport projects in the states of Ondo, Lagos and Delta, the Authority provided insights into what it means for Nigeria and development partners.

Ondo Deep Sea Project

The Ondo State Government, along with its partners, incorporated the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) Port of Ondo Development Limited to design, finance, operate, maintain, and transfer the Ondo Multi-Purpose Deep Sea Port at a total project cost of $1.48 billion. It’ll be fully funded by the proponent for a concession period of 50 years.

Projected revenues accruing to the Federal Government are expected run into $50 billion in royalties and other fees in marine services, while the proponent is expected to receive USD $2.6 billion in profits throughout the concession tenor.

The Ondo Deep Sea Project will be developed in two phases.

Snake Island Port

According to the Nigeria Ports Authority, this project would expand the existing port facility from the current single berth to 4 terminals with 3 km of quay, 7 ship berths, and 11 barge berths, with 6 to 13.5 meters of the draft on a total area of 90 hectares. It would comprise container, bulk, and multipurpose (general cargo/RoRo) terminals.

The Snake Island Port facility, located within the Snake Island Integrated Free Zone (SIIFZ), would be expanded at a total cost of $974.1 million for a concession period of 45 years.

Projected revenues accruing to the Federal Government stand at $18 billion in royalties and marine services, while the proponent is expected to receive $5.23 billion in profits throughout the concession tenor.

Burutu Port Project

The Burutu Port project in Delta State, proposed by Messrs. Akewa Colmar Services Ltd., has been conceptualized as a mining, inland transportation, logistics base, operating as a transshipment hub for the provision of other port services in western and central Africa.

As part of the project, the old port at Burutu will undergo rehabilitation while a greenfield port, proposed for Agge in Delta State, would be developed. The project is estimated to cost $1.2 billion for a concession period of 40 years.

Projected revenues accruing to the Federal Government stand at $125 billion in royalties and marine services, while the proponent is expected to earn $9 billion in profits throughout the concession tenor. The project will be developed in three phases.

Revamping ports infrastructure for growth and development

“These projects are the results of the Federal Government’s drive, through the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMT) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), to improve port services, increase revenues, and take pressure off the existing ports and critical infrastructure,” the NPA said in a statement, adding the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) have issued Certificates of Compliance to the port projects.

Many of Nigeria’s existing seaports, inherited from the colonial administration, have struggled to function efficiently over the years. But the country is ramping up investments to reverse the trend. At the beginning of this year, Nigeria commissioned the Lekki Deep Seaport, next to the Dangote Refinery, on the east of Lagos. The port, which is the largest in Nigeria, is expected to end cargo congestion in Lagos and cut waiting times offshore.

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BREAKING: British junior enters onshore Angolan blocks with Apex Atlas acquisition

Corcel Plc, an AIM-listed company with interest across battery metals and oil & gas, has acquired a 90% interest in Atlas Petroleum Exploration Worldwide Limited (Apex Atlas), which was recently awarded operated and non-operated interests in onshore oil & gas blocks in Angola. The company is not to be confused with Atlas Petroleum International, the Nigerian exploration & production company. In May 2021, Apex Atlas was awarded a 20% working interest in the KON 11 and a 25% interest in the KON 12 blocks, two licenses that have produced between 1970 and 1990. They hold strong redevelopment potential focused on the Tobias and Galinda fields. The company was also awarded a 35% interest as operator of the KON 16 exploration block. A license signature and award ceremony is scheduled to take place later this week in Angola to formalize the deal. The transaction would complete only upon the formal execution of three risk service contracts (RSC) with the Angolan government covering the KON 11, 12 and 16 Blocks. The minimum spend on KON 11 and KON 12 is of $6m, while that of KON 16 is of $3m, with a commitment to drill one well on all three blocks, according to Corcel. “The Kwanza basin has been producing for 35 years, is a well understood petroleum system and has both significant scale and upside.  Corcel sees significant opportunities to increase the legacy operator estimated resources given the structural configuration of the basin and recent new structural mapping.  We also see large stratigraphic and structural pre salt structures on blocks, analogous to the offshore Cameia discovery.  Our initial focus will however be on quickly securing first oil and revenues through our redevelopment opportunities,” said James Parsons, Executive Chairman at Corcel.

Opinion: Nigeria’s industry is rising to the twin challenge of decarbonisation and energy security

by Wale Yusuff, Managing Director of Wärtsilä in Nigeria Wale Yusuff, the Managing Director of Wärtsilä in Nigeria, explains how businesses operating in energy-intensive industries like cement or steel are investing in flexible engine technologies to secure reliable and efficient power while also setting the perfect stage to make good on their decarbonisation objectives. Nigeria is a major industrial hub. It is home to energy-intensive manufacturing businesses whose operations, and growth potential, are constrained by the weakness of the country’s electricity supply. To mitigate this, industrial companies have been building their own power generation capabilities, but the result has often been the reliance on expensive and polluting diesel generators. As such, the industrial sector represents one of the country’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In most places in Africa, the development of renewable energy capacity is a very competitive solution that industrials can adopt to lower their environmental impact and energy costs. But things aren’t as clear-cut in Nigeria. Most of its industrial activity is in the south, a region where wind and solar resources are often not available in the right quantity to make renewables competitive at today’s equipment prices. It leaves industrials with a twin challenge to meet. First and foremost, they need to secure their own reliable and affordable power capacity either by buying electricity from an independent power producer or by building their own “captive” plant. Second, they need to integrate decarbonisation in their overall energy strategy. Both objectives are not contradictory. By making smart technology choices, forward looking businesses like BUA Cement, African Foundries, Lafarge, Wempco, Nestle and Flour Mills have found a way to hit these two birds with one stone. Here is how. Securing a reliable supply of electricity Mitigating power generation risk is critical to Nigeria’s industrial growth. As one of the world’s largest producers of liquified natural gas (LNG), Nigeria has a strong interest to develop its utilization to power local industries. That’s why flexible engine power plants have emerged as the technology of choice for Nigeria’s industries. Fuel-flexible engine technology provides a great hedge against fuel supply risk as it can operate on multiple types of fuels, from gas to heavy or light fuel oil, and switch between fuels while operating. This fuel-flexibility is also a key enabler to the decarbonisation strategy of industrials, as engine power plants can be converted to run on sustainable fuels like biofuels and green hydrogen, ammonia, or methanol, when these become available. Thanks to their modular design, Wärtsilä engine power plants are easy to construct, fully scalable and can be deployed in phases. They have the flexibility to be ramped-up or down quickly to adjust to demand, they have a high operating efficiency even at partial load and are designed to cope with regular stops and starts. This very high operating flexibility is also what is needed for the future integration of intermittent renewable energy capacity to the power mix. What is more, they require much less water to function than competing power technologies, which is an important water conservation consideration in view of Nigeria’s long dry seasons.  With all these attributes, flexible engine power plants offer a cost-effective solution to meet energy demand in the short term, and environmental objectives in the longer term. BUA Cement PLC, one of Nigeria’s largest cement producers, is one example of an energy intensive industrial company which has invested to secure its own flexible and reliable power supply and decrease its carbon footprint. As the demand for cement is increasing every year, BUA has taken advantage of the modularity of engine technology to increase its power capacity in stages. The company is currently installing a 70 MW power plant for the line 4 in its Sokoto cement plant, NW Nigeria. This is in addition to a 50 MW power plant commissioned two years earlier for the line 3 of the same cement plant. Future expansion plans include another 70MW for its OBU line 3 cement plant in Edo State SW by the end of 2023. The plants feature Wärtsilä 34 DF dual-fuel engines operating primarily with LNG and PNG, but with the flexibility to switch to an alternative fuel should there be interruptions to the gas supply, quality, or pressure. What is more, the operational flexibility of the Wärtsilä engines provides future-proofing advantages by enabling the potential integration of renewable energy further down the line. Paving the way for renewables Nigeria’s long term energy strategy has defined the rapid deployment of renewables and strengthening the power transmission network as key objectives. But it must also overcome the specific challenges of the tropical monsoon climate in the industrialized south of the country where the solar and wind potential is respectively 30% and 40% lower than in the hot and semi-arid conditions in the north. By investing in gas engine power plants, energy-intensive industries will not only decrease their carbon footprint, but they will also free up resources for the government to expand the transmission network enabling the entire country to benefit from the natural gas reserves located in the south and renewable resources in the north. Paras Energy sets an example of how this can work. Since installing a 132 MW Wärtsilä gas engine power plant in Ikorodu in Lagos State and Ogijo in Ogun State, Paras Energy is supplying the company’s steel production needs as well as providing power to the Nigerian grid to support over 20,000 homes annually. The company is now commissioning a 10 MW solar power plant in Suleja and a 5 MW solar rooftop system for commercial and industrial customers is under development.  Flexible engine power plants represent a smart and future-proof investment for Nigeria’s energy intensive industries. They offer the efficient power capabilities needed to offset the shortcomings of the national power grid, strengthen their global competitiveness, and reduce their GHG emissions today and tomorrow. By working towards the country’s decarbonization targets, the smart energy investments made by industry will benefit the whole country.