Nigeria seeks investors for West Africa’s first big ship yard

Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) is seeking private investors to back the construction of a new ship yard that would put West Africa on the global maritime map.

It may be Africa’s biggest economy and the world’s eighth biggest producer of crude, but Nigeria’s industry lacks a key piece of infrastructure – a drydock big enough to repair large, oil-transporting vessels.

Carriers now have to sail all the way down to South Africa if they want to fix their vessels in Africa.

NLNG, which gets gas from upstream oil companies and liquefies it for export, is canvassing for approximately $1.5bn to build the facility, which would cover an area equivalent to 185 football fields, at Badagry, near Lagos. 

Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries have already each agreed to invest $30m in the scheme, but NLNG is seeking further investment, a company spokesman, Tony Okonedo, told Reuters.

Okonedo said the company organised a roadshow earlier this year to sell the idea to big oil companies active in Nigeria.

It’s the latest attempt by Nigeria to capture more of the lucrative, oil-related engineering business that currently goes to other countries. 

In October 2014 Samsung Heavy Industries and LADOL, a Nigerian oil logistics and services firm, broke ground on a new $300m facility to manufacture the vast Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels, or FPSOs, used in Nigeria’s offshore oil production. Now FPSOs are largely assembled in Korea’s massive ship yards.

Okonedo said NLNG was in discussions with a strategic investor for the project, and that it would take up to 48 months to complete once all the funding was in place.

Photograph: A liquified natural gas facility operated by Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG)

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