MT Sahara Gas, the newly built vessel acquired by the West Africa Gas Limited (WAGL), has delivered 7,000 metric tons of Liquefied Natural Gas (LPG) in its historic maiden voyage to Nigeria to boost availability and safe access to the commodity widely referred to as cooking gas.
WAGL is a joint Joint Venture of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and leading Energy Conglomerate, Sahara Group. The JV is run by two companies, NNPC LNG Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NNPC and Sahara Energy’s Oil and Gas trading arm, Ocean Bed Trading Ltd (BVI).
WAGL in January 2017 acquired two new vessels, MT Africa Gas and MT Sahara Gas in its bid to reduce transportation bottlenecks, add value to the Nigeria economy through exporting the commodity, deepen the LPG market in West Africa as well as enhance access to clean and safe energy. The acquisitions were also a strategic response to the lingering challenges of supply, affordability and fraudulent activities motivated by scarcity of the product.
NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said in keeping with the Federal Government’s economic growth plan, WAGL remained committed to stabilizing the market and ensuring sustainability of the commodity through strategic deliveries within the sub-region. “This is a historic achievement for the NNPC and Sahara Group that showcases a truly successful partnership by all global standards. The quest is to achieve uninterrupted supply of the commodity and address infrastructural limitations as we continue to implement our zero tolerance policy against adulterated products and their promoters across the nation.”
Baru said the NNPC/Sahara Group partnership remained a model for successful JVs, adding that both parties were considering various strategies to optimise the delivery of the product across West Africa. “The Federal Government deserves commendation for implementing policies that are geared towards growing the economy. That we have such a partnership involving the NNPC and Sahara Group is indeed an important global narrative for Nigeria in terms of capacity, expertise and sustainability,” he added.
Speaking aboard the vessel, Umar Isa Ajiya, Managing Director, Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) said it was a significant and important milestone not only for Nigeria, Africa and the entire shipping and maritime industry. “We have a brand new LPG vessel, built by 100 per cent fully owned Nigerian entities and it has picked up LPG from Bonny and brought it to Lagos. This is the first time we are having a wholly owned shipping vessel bringing product to our shores. This is an opportunity to grow and deepen the LPG market in Nigeria such that the use of firewood will come to an end sooner than later. I must commend the shareholders of Sahara Group and NNPC for making it worthy to make this laudable investment,” he said.
Also commending the NNPC/Sahara Group Partnership, Roland Omoregbe, WAGL’s Managing Director, said: “This is the first time the private sector in Nigeria is involved with the NNPC in ensuring that there is enough supply of LPG to the country. We are happy that it has done several voyages into West Africa, including Lome, Ivory Coast and Ghana and we are counting more. The sister vessel, Africa Gas is in the West Africa waters as we speak. We have strategic plans to flood Nigeria with LPG and other cleaner sources of energy to do their domestic chores which will in turn save our country and our planet.”
Moroti Adedoyin-Adeyinka, Chief Executive Officer, Asharami Synergy Plc(A Sahara Group Downstream Company) said: “What we see here today speaks to the power of collaboration and the great things that can be achieved when the private and public sector work together with the right strategy, expertise and capacity. At Sahara, this is the kind of collaboration that we push for; one that makes our economy better and saves our planet.”
LPG/C Africa Gas has performed five Transatlantic voyages loading butane from US Gulf Coast and discharging in West Africa mainly in Abidjan, Tema and Lome. The vessel also traded once in South America for a spot voyage in September 2017.
LPG/C Sahara Gas has performed four Transatlantic Voyages around the West African region, with her berthing in Lagos, being her first trade in Nigeria, after it loaded from Bonny and discharged in Lagos. Sahara Gas also had a spot trade in France in April 2017.
Total volumes traded by both vessels include: 150,000 MT in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 35,000 MT in Tema, Ghana, 2,500 MT in Lome, Togo, and the recently delivered 7,000 MT in Lagos, Nigeria. Africa Gas is currently discharging in Abidjan and heads out to Tema, Ghana and Lome, Togo in a fortnight.