Dateline Energy Services Limited has signed a contract with Naval Dockyard Limited for the construction of a 4,000 metric tonnes Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) coastal gas carrier barge.
According to the agreement, Naval Dockyard Limited will build the LPG coastal gas transportation barge for Dateline Energy Services.
Speaking during the official project kick-off and agreement signing ceremony in Lagos recently, Wilson Opuwei, chief executive officer of Dateline Energy Services, said the company discovered an opportunity around the maritime and gas value chain due to the disconnect between gas production and product evacuation in Nigeria.
According to him, companies in the gas value chain face the challenges of evacuating their products, especially the ones that would be moved from the processing units where they will be processed from natural gas into LPG.
Opuwei said the company decided to come in and do something novel because hitherto the byproduct of gas in Nigeria is conveyed by export.
“As an indigenous company, we play in the upstream sub-sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry. When we came up with this novel idea of building an LPG Coastal Gas carrier, it was to close the gap between the gas processing and distribution space, which is why we decided to invest in the construction of the barge.
“This is a kickoff project that is going to be one in a fleet of LPG carrier barges that we are looking to have in the future to be able to provide services. This LPG coastal carrier barge is the first of its kind in Africa because it has not been built anywhere else in Africa,” Opuwei explained.
He said the barge will serve as a carrier of LPG from the production facilities to the storage facilities, and off-take facilities as well as serving as a shuttle that takes gas from smaller vessels to bigger crafts that are located deeper in the coastal water.
Opuwei said the company identified the Naval Dockyard Limited as a facility that has the required technical capacity to construct a flagship project like the LPG gas carrier in-country.
He commended the Federal Government for putting up a multi-million-dollar facility like the Naval Dockyard in Nigeria with the technical capacity to service the rest of Africa.
Pointing out that the nation’s waterways in the concept of a Blue Economy projects opportunities for businesses around the coastline, he said businesses can leverage the waterways to deliver products and services.
Earlier, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, the chief of Naval Staff, said that the agreement signing marks a significant milestone for the Nigerian Navy, the Naval Dockyard Limited, Dateline Energy Services and indeed Nigeria at large as the construction of the proposed 4,000 metric tonnes LPG coastal gas transportation barge is indicative of how these institutions and the nation has developed the capacity to indigenise the construction of vessels.
Represented by Rear Admiral Hamza Kaoje, CEO of Navy Holdings, Ogalla said the execution of the gas transport barge project would generate several positive outcomes and spur the growth of Research and Development, indigenous vessel construction and local content development.
“It would transform the energy sector in Nigeria and Africa and create jobs across the maritime oil and gas ecosystem. This is vital as nations transit to use of LPG as a cleaner and more cost-efficient substitute to other forms of hydrocarbon towards mitigating the impact of climate change,” he said.
On his part, Darren Dignam, project partner, said the project will ensure sustainable transportation of LPG gas in Nigeria because, for each of the barges that move products, about 400 trucks would be taken off Nigerian roads.
Dignam alluded to the fact that the Naval Dockyard has the capacity to serve not only the Nigerian shipping industry but also the whole of the West African sub-region because the dockyard has the capacity that is not in any other facility in the region.
Oliver Omajuwa, deputy director of Strategy and Operations at SIFAX Group, said that SIFAX Group is happy to be part of the project that will not only grow the economy but will also drive FX earnings by enabling the supply of LPG gas to other West African countries.
He pledged that SIFAX Group would support the project to the best of its ability.