The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) Limited and its Joint Venture (JV) partner, Sahara Group, yesterday took delivery of two 23,000 CBM Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) vessels at the Hyundai MIPO Shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.
The new vessels, MT BARUMK and MT SAPET, THISDAY learnt, have increased NNPC and Sahara Group’s investment to over $300 million, approaching the JV’s $1 billion gas infrastructure commitment by 2026.
The fleet previously comprised MT Sahara Gas and MT Africa Gas and all the four vessels were built by Hyundai MIPO Dockyard, a foremost global manufacturer of mid-sized carriers.
Sahara announced the latest development in a statement issued yesterday, quoting the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, to have said the two companies have plans to add another 10 vessels in the next 10 years to enhance Africa’s transition to cleaner fuels.
According to the statement, WAGL Energy Limited, the JV company between NNPC and Oceanbed, a Sahara Group company, were 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.
Kyari, who stated that three additional new vessels were being finalised, added, “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 environmental sustainability is unwavering.”
The statement explained that MT BARUMK and MT SAPET are WAGL and Sahara Group’s injection into the JV and that WAGL was 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, according to the statement, 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 Muhammadu Buhari.
The initiatives including the LPG Penetration Framework and LPG Expansion Plan were geared towards encouraging the use of gas in households, power generation, auto-gas and industrial applications in order to attain five 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 stated.
The Executive Director Sahara Group, Mr. Temitope Shonubi, said with the new vessels, NNPC and Sahara were set to promote and lead Africa’s march towards energy transition.
“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,” Shonubi said.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Korea, Ali Magashi, who represented the federal government, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari deserved commendation for the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which he said, would reposition the NNPC to explore more projects with partners like Sahara Group.
The statement explained that the name of one the vessels, ‘BARUMK’, was derived from the combination of the name and initials of the late NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, in fond memory of his immense support towards the Gas development in Nigeria.
It also explained that the other vessel, ‘SAPET’, was named after the Sahara – Petroci -the Ivorian National Oil Company’s JV LPG Company, SAPET Energy SA, which is currently constructing the phase one of a 12,000MT LPG storage facility in Abidjan, with expansion plans to achieve 30,000MT in phase two.
The JV, the statement further explained, emerged from WAGL’s trading relationship with PETROCI, dating back to 2014.
In Cote D’Ivoire, Sahara said it had 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 African over the last decade, with forecasts indicating that LPG will grow at seven per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the next 15 years.
It has been projected that increased uptake of LPG will reduce net Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and pressure on forest reserves, thereby increasing environmental sustainability.