(All Africa) There are palpable fears that the position of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to bar the much-expected Egina Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) vessel from the Nigerian waterways may jeopardise the multi-billion-dollar oil project.
Egina Floating Production and Offloading vessel (FPSO) is a giant oil production ship operated by Total E & P Nigeria Limited for the production of crude from its Egina oil field deep offshore Nigeria.
The vessel, which had left South Korea since October 31 last year, is on its journey to Lagos, Nigeria for further integration of its six topsides at Tarkwa Bay, Lagos. The vessel, expected to sail for three months is inching closer to Nigeria and may arrive any moment from now.
NPA has threatened that it would not be allowed into Nigerian waters unless the parties complied with its towage laws.
This development is posing danger to the multi-million dollar equipment and services that are already awaiting the arrival of the vessel. It also poses a setback to the Nigerian content and local capacity development agenda of the Federal Government, while the confidence will be eroded.
Operator of the Egina oil field, Total and its FPSO contractors, Ladol/Samsung have so far kept mute on the development, but it was gathered that they have commenced negotiations and lobbying the government over the matter.
Attempt to reach the Managing Director of Ladol, Amy Jadesimi, was futile, as she ignored several calls and text messages seeking enquiries.
However, a source in the company who is close to the deal told The Guardian that, “we are already working things out, we cannot allow the project to be jeopardised. All hands are on deck to ensure that the matter is resolved before the FPSO arrives.”
The Egina FPSO has a storage capacity of 2.2 million barrels of crude oil and a production of 108,000 barrels per day capacity. It is 35 meters high, 330 meters long, with a flare boom that is 100 meters high just as it has capacity to accommodate 200 people at a time.
Egina oil field is expected to add 200,000 barrels per day to Nigeria’s oil output and it is expected to come on stream in 2018. The issues around the towage services may unnecessarily delay the first oil, if necessary actions are not taken.
General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications of NPA, Abdullahi Goje, yesterday told The Guardian that nothing concrete has been done about the issue, expressing optimism that something should play out before the arrival of the vessel. He noted that NPA would not hesitate to carry out its threat, if the parties fail to comply.
Goje had earlier said: “The refusal of the parties involved in the project to request for towage and pilotage service from the NPA, (being the only organisation empowered to provide same in the country), is contrary to the laws of the country and would be resisted.
“Notice has already been given to promoters of the FPSO to the effect that the vessel would not be granted access to Nigeria’s waterways and that the NPA would pursue legal remedies in its determination to ensure that no organisation impedes on the mandate of the NPA as provided in Part II of the Port Act”, he said.