• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Gas shortage squeezes Nigeria’s LNG exports by 13%

Gas shortage squeezes Nigeria’s LNG exports by 13%

Nigeria’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export industry is facing a significant setback as feedstock shortages have caused a 13 percent decline in exports.

LNG sales from Nigeria dropped by 13 percent from 15.1 million tonnes in 2022 to 13 million tonnes in 2023, the International Gas Union (IGU) revealed in its latest 2024 World LNG Report.

This development took the West African nation from sixth place to eighth, losing its spot to Indonesia and Algeria, who exported 15.6 million tonnes and 13 millions of gas respectively last year.

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“Nigeria, whose export declined by 1.55 metric tonnes continued its force majeure, plagued by low volumes of feedstock gas due to upstream disruptions,” IGU stated.

The root cause of the problem lies in dwindling natural gas supplies available for liquefaction. These feedstock shortages are attributed to various factors, including declining output from aging oil fields and pipeline vandalism that disrupts gas transportation.

According to the IGU, Nigerian LNG declared force majeure on some cargo loadings in October 2022, initially because of significant flooding across its upstream gas supply production regions, which required several gas production wells to be shut.

“While flooding conditions have been resolved, feedstock deliveries have still not recovered for pipeline vandalism.”

This situation has severe consequences for Nigeria. The LNG industry has been a significant revenue generator for the country, and the dwindling market share translates to a substantial loss of income. Additionally, the decline could potentially lead to job losses and hinder economic growth.

In 2023, the NLNG paid a dividend of over $40 billion, out of which 49 percent went to the Federal Government of Nigeria courtesy of its shareholding in the company, via Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.

Also, the NLNG payment to joint venture feedgas suppliers from inception till date is about $32 billion.

“Fifty-five percent-60 percent of such payment goes to the Federal Government of Nigeria via its shareholding in NNPC Limited,” the company said.

“Some critical reasons associated with the decline in gas exports and production are insecurity and vandalism of gas infrastructure which often results in significant losses and disruption of production,” said Ayodele Oni, partner at Bloomfield LP.

Read also: Meet Julius Rone, the gas kingpin pioneering Nigeria’s first floating LNG

He added: “Also, due to the exit of some major International Oil Companies (IOCs), there has been a significant reduction in the level of investment in the gas sector.

“Poor gas infrastructure is also a factor that has also contributed to the decline in gas production capacity. The emigration of some IOCs from onshore and shallow waters to deep offshore fields, leaving indigenous companies to take on significantly larger responsibility, has also been attributed as a factor for the decline in gas exports and production.”

Nigeria’s ability to regain its footing in the LNG export market hinges on its success in tackling the challenges of vandalism, force majeure, and infrastructural deficit.

The Nigerian government is under pressure to address the feedstock shortages urgently. Solutions might involve increased investment in gas exploration and infrastructure development to ensure a steady supply for LNG production.

In March, Ekperipe Ekpo, minister of state for petroleum resources (gas), said serious work was ongoing to resolve the crisis in gas feedstock supplies to LNG production and distribution companies.

While reaffirming commitment to bolster the nation’s gas supply, Ekpo reassured a sustained increase in gas production and distribution.

He highlighted the government’s proactive measures to address energy challenges and meet growing demand.

His assurance came amid rising concerns over energy security, underscoring the government’s determination to enhance the availability and reliability of gas resources for domestic and industrial consumption

“I am impressed with what I have seen here today. We are moving towards zero emission and we need to do everything to supply gas to Nigerians,” Ekpo said.