During US President Clinton's trip to Nigeria, US Trade and Development Agency (TDA) Director J. Joseph Grandmaison announced Aug. 27 in Abuja the agency's approval of $1.605 million in grant assistance for priority infrastructure projects in the country. These grants are the first offered since TDA officially opened in Nigeria following the country's successful transition to a democratically elected government in 1999.
Among the grants are two related to the energy industry. The first, a $400,000 grant to Nigeria Gas Corp., will provide funds for a feasibility study on the domestic use of natural gas, the country's dominant energy resource.
Nigeria has been seeking in recent years to utilize more of its natural gas output, much of which has been flared, historically. Among steps Nigeria has already taken to improve gas utilization is the institution of a program to phase out flaring by 2008; construction of a 5.8 million tonne/year LNG plant at Bonny Island, Rivers State; and participation in the proposed West Africa Gas Pipeline project, which would transport 120 MMcfd of Nigeria gas to neighboring countries Benin, Togo, and Ghana.
Also in the energy sector, TDA announced its recent approval of a $360,000 grant to the Warri Refining & Petrochemical Co. to fund a premium gasoline and aviation fuel feasibility study in Nigeria. Nigeria has long been plagued by repeated refinery failures, insufficient fuel supplies, and refined product theft through pipeline tapping, which has resulted in several fatal accidents in the country.