The restoration came after officials met and agreed to seek further dialogue.
Normal gas export operations at the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited at Bonny Island, Rivers state were on Sunday restored after the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) lifted the blockade on the Bonny Channel over fee disputes.
The blockade, which followed alleged refusal by the NLNG to pay the statutory three per cent levy on every freight entering or leaving the country through the nation’s territorial waters, had effectively disrupted the company’s gas import and export activities.
All vessels operating in the area were denied access or exit through the channel, regarded as the normal major loading terminals for gas export.
However, General Manager, External Relations, NLNG, Kudo Eresia-Eke, said on Sunday that following a meeting between the management of NLNG and NIMASA, both parties agreed to continue dialogue towards finding a solution to the lingering disagreement.
According to him, NLNG’s position has been that it was exempted from the levies in contention by the provisions of the NLNG Act, pointing out that an amicable solution should be sought in line with the Supreme Court ruling, which affirmed NLNG’s position in a similar case.
“Nigeria LNG Limited is a law-abiding corporate citizen of Nigeria and pays all its lawful dues and taxes,” Mr Eke said. “It has in fact in the recent past received commendations and won awards for its promptitude and honesty in payment of taxes to government.”
Consequently, he said LNG-carrying vessels now have access to the Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), loading bay on Bonny Island.
NLNG, which is jointly owned by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) (49%), Shell (25.6%), Total LNG (15%) and Eni (10.4%), remains the arrowhead in the Federal Government’s efforts to stop gas flaring in Nigeria, contributing significant revenues to the Federal Government and accounts for 4 percent of Nigeria’s GDP.
The NLNG operates a tight export schedule on its long-term gas contracts to its customers in Europe. Possible disruptions to their schedule for gas contracts might attract huge costs for non-delivery of consignments.