Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) is courting financial investors for the construction of a dry dock for the maintenance of large oil and gas vessels in Badagry, Lagos State.
The public and private owned gas company say the construction of the dock will save huge foreign exchange for Nigeria as well as create real value for the economy.
“This dry-dock, when completed, holds huge potential for the investment community,” NLNG’s Chief Executive, Babs Omotowa, said to representatives of financial institutions at an investment forum held at the proposed site for the dockyard. “Our LNG vessels and very large crude carriers (VLCC) of other companies in the oil and gas and marine industries, which are currently maintained overseas, resulting in millions of dollars being spent overseas, will soon be maintained in-country with tangible value-adds for the Nigerian economy.”
NLNG’s push for a dockyard follows the company’s $1.6 billion contract with shipbuilders, Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries, for the building of six new vessels. This will see the gas company’s vessel fleet swell to 19, increasing the need to maintain them locally given the high cost of doing so abroad.
General Manager of the Shipping Division, captain Temi Okesanjo, said the plan is to maintain the new ships together with the 13 vessels that the NLNG already has at the proposed dockyard.
As part of the agreement with the ship builders, NLNG says about 600 young Nigerians are being trained in various aspects of ship-building. The builders will also procure some of their materials from Nigerian companies as well as conduct the feasibility studies for building a dockyard.
Nigeria’s Dockyard Problem
With current Nigerian dockyards only able to handle smaller vessels, the country’s maritime sector has long suffered the absence of an operational dockyard to cater for very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers.
This has meant that owners of large vessels in Nigeria and West Africa suffer higher costs and access to docking facilities located mainly in Asia, Europe and the Americas. “ I have no doubt the other players in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry will also be looking to service and maintain their vessels at this ship yard once it becomes operational” added captain Temi. (VENTURES AFRICA)