Nigerian gas tycoon Julius Rone has finalized a deal with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for the construction of a Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility in Nigeria. UTM Offshore, owned by Rone, a marine and logistics services provider in Nigeria, has signed a project preparation facility agreement with Afreximbank for the development of a 1.2 million ton per annum FLNG facility in Akwa Ibom State.
The agreement, signed in late June 2023 in Ghana, represents the first-ever FLNG facility in Nigeria. Afreximbank will provide financing for a portion of the project preparatory activities, leveraging its diverse portfolio to offer comprehensive solutions for the project’s construction. This committed capital will mitigate risks and advance the project to a bankable state.
Furthermore, Afreximbank will serve as the Lead Financer and assume the role of financial advisor and mandated lead arranger once the project becomes bankable, according to a press release from the institution.
The press release also stated that Afreximbank, through its financial advisory mandate, has been crucial in structuring the transaction to maximize returns and debt sizing.
Additionally, it has facilitated the identification of equity investors with favorable terms for investment in the project.
Situated in Block OML 204, offshore Nigeria, the FLNG facility’s Front-End Engineering Design contract was signed in November 2022.
Rone, 49, founded UTM Offshore in July 2012.
The company is an indigenous special-purpose conglomerate actively engaged in diverse sectors of the Nigerian and international oil and gas and maritime markets, including the direct sales and direct purchase of Nigerian crude oil.