Mr. Sanjoy RoyChoudhury is in charge of Business Development for Greenville LNG, a company that is promoting usage liquefied natural gas in Nigeria.  He spoke with Goodness Sunday on his company’s operations and how it is adding value in the energy chain
What is the level of acceptability of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Nigeria?
This energy concept is new to Nigeria although Nigeria is one of the biggest producers of the energy of which 100% is so far being exported out of the country but we are doing the project for the first time in ECOWAS and also in Pan-Africa that the energy will be used in domestic sectors and we have done extensive market research and we found out that one of the major problems in Nigeria is transport segment and the quality of the diesel.
LNG is very pure and low carbon footprints and the costs savings from the transporters point of view and in diesel will be close to 26% when you compare, for example the diesel cost #240 per litre and for natural gas which we offer is #150 per kg, that is almost 40% per savings so it will be a good benefit for the common people in transport and we have got a very good feedback on this.
Have the haulage companies embraced the LNG as alternative to diesel?
The heart of Nigeria is the transport of goods because it’s a large country, we have done the market analysis of the haulage segment. Presently for the city limits and also for long distances. One of the issues the haulage companies face is diesel theft but in terms of gas, there is no chance of gas being stolen so it will be a good savings for the haulage companies and at the same time in terms of costs savings, you will have 35-42% savings in fuel, operational costs will be coming down so that will add to their profitability so they are welcoming us.
Tell us more about the virtual pipeline system for supplying of LNG in the country?
The virtual pipeline, what is the meaning of virtual? You thinking abstract service. Now, when we consider all the oil & gas, what comes to our mind is that they must be a pipeline, a conventional pipeline that comes from the refineries and then it goes to fuel stations. Virtual means what is happening in energy efficient transport has to be done by cryogenic tanks, cryogenic tanks means it is a double wound tanks, the liquid energy is stored in -1620 temperature and the tank is almost 22 tonne capacity and it will be going cross-country from our plants to North, South, East and West and delivering to the energy fuel stations and at the same time this will also be delivered to various manufacturing plants, they will be using the gas for their production and process plants. So we will work the tracks which will be virtually moving like a pipeline but it’s a dynamic one, its like there is no pipe but there is a pipe that is essentially moving in the form of a truck, that’s why it is called virtual pipeline.
What are the locations of the Greenville LNG refuelling stations your company is constructing and when will they be opened?
At this moment the factory is under commissioning stage because it has undergo 95% completion, we have some pressure testing and there are some few commissioning activities going on because there has to be a lot of safety, at the same time we are making full gas stations already, one is in Sagamu, another in Kaduna and Abia, then we finally go to Abuja and Lagos and it will be expanded to more power stations, we are also discussing with NNPC to add dispensers in their stations and we are discussing our profit-sharing so they will give us the space and we install mini plants. For large customers, we will have a large fleet of trucks where we even install mini fuel stations in their own fuelling area where they don’t have to worry of moving their trucks for filling. We have full mobile filling stations and it is important for you to know, suppose in the middle of the mountain where there is no gas station and something happens, our mobile vans with the filling tanks can perform an emergency filling. We expect the final production to kick off in January, latest by February.
You intend to make the Greenville LNG a one-stop shop solution, how do you intend to achieve this?
Our main objective is to make Nigeria self-sufficient on their energy for their needs, one of the main discussions you hear every day is power crisis and job creations, our plants when it’s fully activated, will solve the power outages by replacing the many diesel generators with gas generators to minimize the carbon footprint, we will also encourage the youths by giving them training and also the gas technologies so they do get the opportunity of joining our company, they can join in the distribution of the fuel system, fuel channel, sales and also engineering, this is our Corporate Social Responsibility. Nigeria, although being one of the largest producer of oils, lacks refinery facilities, so the crude oil is exported out of the country and it comes back at a high price, although being an OPEC country they buy their fuel at a higher price so the cost of the diesel is high for the general public but when we produce the gas internally and sell internally it will be beneficial for the people of Nigeria, the supply chain cost goes down, the food cost goes down, it will impact the general economy as a lot of foreign currency the government pays for the refined oil will be saved.
In practical terms, how will you say your company contributes to the growth of the Nigerian economy?
In the Nigerian economy one of the main issues is the currency crises and the interest rates. The Nigerian banks offer close to 20-24% interest rate which is very high when compared to developed countries, if we compare for example, Europe offers 4-5%, in Asia the industrial loans are available at 13-14% interest but it’s higher in Nigeria because of the energy crises and the money being drained by this foreign currency but if there is a savings of the foreign currency, it could be used for the local entrepreneurs, they can use the fund at a lower interest rate and invest for the growth of the Nigerian economy.
What level of collaboration do you get from government regulatory bodies like the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), DPR?
We have very good relations and we got the pioneer status from the government of Nigeria and we have exciting relations with various sectors such as DPR; Department of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Commerce and also at the Presidential level, SMEs as an investor or Foreign Direct Investment. We have got exempts on duty for importing our factory components and machineries which reduces our input cost and hereby reduces our output cost and becomes more competitive.
What has been Greenville’s programmes in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility?
In running a business it’s not just about profits, you would have to include the totality of the society. Our Chairman and Managing director have combined efforts of trying to induct the communities in various parts of Nigeria in different states. For example, I personally, as a directive from our management, got the student community involved. They get good training in different phases of the business; Finance, technical, Sales. We also support various NGOs in the Port-Harcourt region.
How does your company contribute to the development of local manpower and transfer of technology?
We invite students from the local universities and give them practical training, paid internship not only just oil and gas, if the student has interest in finance, banking, and commerce. We also try to induct unemployed people or if not, we have associates, vendors. We have a mixed nationality team. We want to be seen as a Nigerian company not a foreign one. Greenville is essentially a foreign investment and 100% Nigerian integrated.

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