Nigerian Senate has called on the federal government to ensure immediate revival of the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG project in Bayelsa State which commenced since 2004.
Senate, while also urging the government to create enabling environment for reputable oil and gas companies to take over the 17 percent shares each previously owned by Conoco Philips and Total, respectively, said the project had gulped about $1, 200, 000, 000 as at 2011 covering early site works and maintenance after which it has remained moribund.
It, however, directed the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and the Brass LNG to brief its Committee on Gas Resources on the extent of the implementation of the project.
These resolutions followed a motion on the need to ensure the revival of the Brass LNG by Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo and co-sponsored by 26 other Senators.
Presenting the motion, Senator Degi-Eremienyo, said that the Brass LNG is a green field project established to operate Liquefied Natural Gas located in Brass Island following agreement signed in 2003 by four shareholders, the NNPC with 49 percent shares while Conoco Philips, Total and ENI International had 17 percent shares each.
He further recalled:“the federal government conceptualised and eventually brought to stream the LNG project to convert the huge gas resources being wasted through gas flaring,” adding that the idea behind the project was to eliminate negate environment impact and to essentially generate revenue for faster economic growth and development.
According to him, former President Olusegun Obasanjo performed the ground breaking ceremony for the take off of the project in May 2007 after award of contract for the Front-End Engineering Design, to Bechtel Corporation in late 2004 for two LNG trains with a total capacity of 10million metric tons per year.
In October 2007, he added that the Brass LNG awarded the Nigerian Westminster Dredging and Marine Limited, NWDM, while the company also signed social contract agreement with primary host communities: Okpoama, Ewoama and Twon Brass on December 14 of same year.
Degi-Eremienyo maintained that activities of the would “attract local and multi-national companies to Brass Island, which will enhance socio-economic development and increase the foreign exchange earnings of the country”, adding that when fully operational, the Brass LNG would create about 10, 000 jobs.
He further noted that the Brass LNG would also actively promote local content, sustainable development, make strategic investment in remote areas in line with the federal government policy, develop and monetize some of Nigeria’s abundant gas reserves that will otherwise remain stranded, and increase domestic liquefied petroleum gas supply, among others.
The lawmaker lamented that the project had suffered several setbacks occasioning unnecessary delays in the signing of its final investment decision, which he said led to the di-investment of two shareholders, the Conoco Philips and Total, leaving only NNPC and ENI International.
He, however, alleged that the moribund state of the project could “rightly be described as consciously organised sabotage by several stakeholders including the NNPC through diversion of funds budgeted and provided for the execution of the project.”