FORMER Head of the Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to approve the Train Seven of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).
Shonekan made the appeal yesterday during a visit to the NLNG plant in Finima, Bonny Island, Rivers State.
Shonekan, who played a vital role in the setting up of the plant disclosed that the country was losing its leadership position in the LNG market to countries such as Australia and the United States.
“This is why I call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately order the acceleration of these gas projects in the interest of this country. Train Seven is a low hanging fruit. I urge the government to immediately pursue that”, he said.
The elder statesman added that from the standpoint of investment, it would cost Nigeria nothing, as it would be built with third party loans. According to him, NLNG has solid credit ratings and can raise funds with relative ease.
“From the standpoint of economics: Train 7, like its predecessors, is viable; it is all plus and no minus for Nigeria. It will bring in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) estimated at over $8 billion and contribute significantly to reduction of flared gas, while further monetising Nigeria’s gas resources and improving the country’s revenue profile.
He continued: “From the standpoint of employment generation: Train 7 will provide about 10,000 jobs for Nigerians, and particularly the youths in the Niger Delta. Since it opened shop in Bonny, Nigeria LNG Limited has provided more than 2,000 jobs each construction year and 18,000 jobs at the peak of construction. The sequential nature of the project ensures that labour force is retained over the years.”
Shonekan noted that Nigeria could no longer have the luxury of deferring major decisions or of picking and choosing developmental projects to do and in what order.
“The LNG market is tightening. Other nations are not staying idle, as the following shows: The United States, formerly a major LNG export destination, will become a net LNG exporter by 2016, starting at 1.1 billion cubic feet per day and rising to 2.2 bcf/d in 2019,” he said.