Japanese Firm to Invest in Nigerian LNG Project

Source: Reuters 3/11/2010, Location: Africa

A Japanese energy-trading firm has taken up a strategic partnership role in Nigeria's Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said.

The project in Bayelsa state is run by Brass LNG Ltd, a partnership between state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC), Total, Eni and ConocoPhilips.

Jonathan said at a meeting with executives of LNG Japan in Abuja that the government welcomed the company's investment and its help in generating employment for Nigerian youths.

"This project is one that will create direct and indirect employment, and take many more unemployed people off the streets," Jonathan said.

No financial details were disclosed.

The Brass LNG venture has suffered long delays since the joint venture was set up in 2004, due to a combination of militant attacks and slow supplies of natural gas.

Chairman of LNG Japan, Shizuka Tamura said the investment in the Brass project would help to bring maximum value to the people of the Niger Delta region and the Nigerian energy sector.

"Now is the right time to progress the discussions further by promoting Brass LNG as the new flagship project between Nigeria and Japan, through our participation," he said.

Tumara said his company currently imports nearly 15 million tonnes per annum of LNG to Japan, which represents one-fourth of the country's LNG consumption.

Nigeria is keen to attract foreign investment to help expand its natural gas sector so it can feed the woefully undersupplied domestic market and fulfil its target of becoming one of the world's top natural gas suppliers.

Despite holding Africa's largest natural gas reserves, a concentration on oil production and lack of investment in infrastructure has prevented Nigeria from unlocking its full gas potential.


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