The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) is reportedly planning a complete shutdown of its six-train, 22 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) plant in Finima, Bonny Island, Rivers State, for maintenance operations slated to begin in February or March 2024. This routine maintenance could exacerbate the ongoing shortages of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG or cooking gas) in Nigeria and the insufficient supply of LNG to European markets due to the Russia-Ukraine War.
The NLNG is currently undergoing a mini-shutdown for maintenance, impacting its capacity production due to feed gas supply shortages caused by oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta. This has led to under-capacity production, revenue losses, and a delay in the company’s plan to supply domestic LNG to the Nigerian market from July 2022. NLNG has been operating at approximately 50% capacity for several months, affecting the availability of gas for its Train-7 under construction.
The planned maintenance shutdown may also hinder the company’s expansion plans for Train-8 and beyond. NLNG, with government ownership, has faced challenges in meeting production targets and delivering gas to domestic and international markets.
NLNG, a major supplier of LPG to the Nigerian market, has committed 100% of its LPG production to the national consumption figure. However, there have been complaints from marketers and LPG plant owners about supply deficits in recent years, leading to retail price hikes. Additionally, Nigeria, through NLNG, is a significant LNG supplier to Europe, and the maintenance shutdown could impact exports to Europe, which is facing a gas supply gap due to the Russia-Ukraine War.
While the EU has expressed the need to reinforce diplomatic relationships with reliable LNG partners like Nigeria to bridge the gas supply gap in Europe, NLNG has not commented on the reported shutdown as of the time of this report.