NNPC-TotalEnergies Commits $550 Million to Transformative Ubeta Gas Project in Nigeria

By Joke Kujenya

NIGERIA’S OIL and gas sector is set for a significant uplift with the NNPC-TotalEnergies Joint Venture (JV) making a landmark announcement of a $550 million Final Investment Decision (FID) for the Ubeta Field Development Project.

This decisive move aligns with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Presidential Executive Order on Oil & Gas Reforms, which aims to enhance the investment climate and position Nigeria as a prime investment destination in Africa’s oil and gas sector.

The Ubeta field, discovered in 1964 and located northwest of Port Harcourt in the eastern Niger Delta, is projected to produce approximately 350 million standard cubic feet per day (MMScf/day) of gas and 10,000 barrels per day (BBLS/day) of associated liquids once operational.

This project taps into vast gas reserves, significantly contributing to the gas supply for Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited.

At the signing ceremony held at NNPC Towers, NNPC Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Mele Kyari, expressed gratitude for the unwavering support from stakeholders and the facilitative role of President Tinubu’s administration.

Kyari highlighted the importance of the Presidential Executive Order in achieving this milestone, noting, “We appreciate Mr. President for supporting us with the appropriate fiscal environment.

The Presidential Executive Order is instrumental to us getting to this significant milestone, and we are now seeing the impact of the policy.”

Mike Sangster, Senior Vice President Africa, Exploration & Production at TotalEnergies, emphasized the project’s alignment with TotalEnergies’ strategy.

“Ubeta is the latest in a series of projects developed by TotalEnergies in Nigeria, most recently Ikike and Akpo West. I am pleased that we can launch this new gas project which has been made possible by the Government’s recent incentives for non-associated gas developments.

Ubeta fits perfectly with our strategy of developing low-cost and low emission projects and will contribute to the Nigerian economy through higher NLNG exports,” said Sangster.

Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), praised President Tinubu for rekindling investor confidence in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. Lokpobiri assured that more investments are on the horizon, echoing the sentiment that the government’s policies are creating a conducive environment for investment.

Echoing this, Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), stated that the Ubeta project exemplifies the effectiveness of the government’s initiatives aimed at fostering investment in the gas sector.

Olufemi Soneye, Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPC, issued a statement on June 20, 2024, detailing that the Ubeta gas condensate field, located in OML58, will be developed with a new six-well cluster connected to the existing Obite facilities through an 11km buried pipeline. Production is expected to commence in 2027, reaching a plateau of 300 million cubic feet per day (approximately 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, including condensates).

Gas from Ubeta will be supplied to the NLNG liquefaction plant on Bonny Island, which is expanding its capacity from 22 to 30 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa), with NNPC Limited holding a 49% interest.

The Ubeta project stands out as a low-emission, low-cost development leveraging existing gas processing facilities at OML58. The project’s carbon intensity will be further reduced through a 5 MW solar plant under construction at the Obite site and the electrification of the drilling rig. TotalEnergies is committed to enhancing local content, with over 90% of the project’s manhours expected to be worked locally.

Also, the FID on the Ubeta project stresses that the NNPC Limited’s relentless efforts, backed by executive support, aim to address the challenges that have previously deterred foreign investment in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, adding that this is anticipated to stimulate economic activities, create job opportunities, and generate significant value for stakeholders, showcasing a robust Nigerian Content plan.

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