Train 7: Nigeria's Biggest Economic Breakthrough
After the historic emergence of Nigeria as an important gas producing economy and the advancement of its global holding on the gas market with six Trains, the realization of the seventh train as a way of stamping her foot on the global gas market became a great task which remained in the pipeline for many years.
The development became so worrisome, even as its major industrial platform, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG), was an instant success with markets waiting for its products across the world. What then became so worrisome was the failure of the Nigerian polity to optimize its capacity by taking the giant leap to get its Train 7 project on ground, an ambition that would have since 2007 positioned the country as the third biggest producer of Liquefied gas in the world. Events of last December, where the Final Investment Decision (FID) was made in Abuja brought a lot of relief to many worried Nigerian technocrats who had seen the delay in implementing the expansion programme of the largest industry in Sub-Saharan Africa as an error in economic planning and strategy. To them, the real movement to diversify the Nigerian economy has begun.
To them, the current management of the Nigeria LNG Limited may have done what ‘Napoleon’ could not do by bringing government to realize the importance and intensity of such an investment to move beyond the level it had been for over twenty years, even though it has made huge income to the Nigerian economy and other shareholders. There is no doubt that the Nigerian GDP position would be breathing cleaner air in readiness for the new initiative. For Mr Tony Attah, the debonair Managing Director of the Nigeria LNG Limited, a new chapter has opened in his profile as the world watches the construction and the eventual berth of a heavy investment at a time the global investment climate has been unfavorable to huge investment decisions. Right from his entry as the CEO of the company, Attah has been upbeat with the Train 7 space and has said and done all that needed to be done to get the project off the ground. Hear him, ”Train 7 means everything to Nigeria’s economy. I have been in the industry for more than 27 years, so I am quite conversant with on-going projects in that space. At the moment, I am not sure there is any project that is bigger than ours, at least within the gas space…..We believe that the time is right and the time is now to achieve further expansion”. For him, gas remains the biggest opportunity for the country to leap-frog and move the economy forward, bearing in mind the fact of its emerging global compatibility with economic , environmental and health trends.
However, it has been noted that by automating the construction to begin soon, the NLNG and the Federal Government of Nigeria have opened up new avenues in fighting the myriads of difficulties that have arisen from unemployment which the expansion can abate. They have also placed Nigeria on global reckoning as encouraging the clarion call for cleaner energy. This becomes so heart-warming for many Nigerians who were not amused by the tangle that has spanned about one decade. It is believed that about $10 billion foreign investments will be attracted into the country with about 40,000 new jobs to be created in one fell swoop. This development becomes very important to the Nigerian economy based on the fact that there has been a revenue downturn for the Nigerian economy whose earnings from her investment in Nigeria LNG Limited has been of strategic assistance, where the assets offer good responsibility and capacity as a developing medium economy. The beauty of the gas plant lies on the fact of its return on investment where a mere $17 billion investment has made a total income of about $102 billion, meaning that it has turned about 600% of its total capital investment over the years, a feat which financial analysts explained as largely very tremendous. The realization of the Train 7 project will put the company’s capacity to 30million tones pay year to become the third biggest in the World. This will increase its workforce currently on about 1,600 with a huge indirect hands larger than that of the fully employed hands, a huge tax income for the federal government and other governments associated with their activities, an expedited gas supply and LPG access to the over 200 million Nigerians, a huge dividend to the shareholders including Nigeria, huge income to other statutory institutions and a massive corporate social responsibility programme or community development funding running into millions of dollars. Most importantly, there will be foreign direct investment inflow into the country over the six years window the development would be expected to last. Obviously gas is the future; and the future is here!! We believe that Train 7 will be the revelation to the Nigerian economy in this decade, as a major economic breakthrough beckons.