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Nigeria LNG says global market share slips as Bonny expansion stalls

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Nigeria LNG Ltd Wednesday said it was gradually losing global LNG market share due to a delay in the expansion of the six train Bonny LNG plant in the Niger Delta.

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The Bonny plant produces 22 million mt/year of LNG, but plans to build a seventh train and increase output to 30 million mt/year, initially from 2010, have failed to materialize.

"NLNG used to be the 10th-largest supplier but it is gradually losing the market to international competitors who have continued to expand their businesses. It is therefore imperative that NLNG increases its production in order not to lose more market share," the company's general manager in charge of production, Chima Isilebo, said in a statement.

NNPC holds a 49% interest in the Bonny plant alongside Shell (25.6%), Total (15%) and Eni (10.4%).

The delay in building the seventh train has cost Nigeria $2.5 billion/year in potential revenue, as well as the opportunity to further reduce gas flared from oil fields in the Niger Delta, NLNG Managing Director Babs Omtowa said in January.

The Bonny LNG plant currently processes over 4 Tcf/year of associated gas that would have been flared into export gas and for domestic consumption, Omtowa said at the time.

The project's owners have continued to postpone making a final investment decision on the seventh line even though export contracts have been already been signed with potential buyers in Japan, China, India and Malaysia.

While no official reason has been given for the delay, industry sources have attributed it to Nigeria's current focus on providing gas to the domestic market over exports, security challenges and delays in the passing of a petroleum industry bill that is holding back several projects.

--Edited by Wendy Wells,

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