Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), on Friday, commissioned the fourth state-of-the-art engineering laboratory in the implementation of its $12 million University Support Programme (USP) with the opening of the $2 million NLNG Engineering Research Centre at the University of Ilorin.

NLNG has so far commissioned the Ahmadu Bello University Multi-user Engineering Laboratory, the University of Ibadan Engineering Complex and the NLNG/University of Port Harcourt Oil and Gas Engineering Centre.

The USP scheme was launched in 2014 to help develop engineering education capacity in the country. The other beneficiaries are University of Maiduguri and University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

The commissioning of the laboratory complex was witnessed by the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed, represented by the Commissioner for Education, Musa Yekiti, representatives of the Board of NLNG, the Council of University of Ilorin and guests from the public and private sectors.

In his keynote address, Babs Omotowa, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NLNG, said: “The University Support Programme is one of NLNG’s approaches to developing Nigerian human capital and fostering technological advancement. We recognise that universities, with their crop of young people and nimble minds, when aided properly, are the fertile grounds from which ideas to fast track Nigeria’s progress will spring from.

“At Nigeria LNG, we like to proudly assert that we have successfully built a great company. That is a fact. But today our challenge and focus is building an even greater one to bequeath to our successors and to Nigeria. Therefore, the USP project is, in a sense, another chapter in that momentous journey and another feather in NLNG’s cap as a socially responsible corporate organisation.

“We continue to offer scholarships to deserving young Nigerians at secondary school, university and post graduate levels. We also endow the Nigeria Prize for Science and the Nigeria Prize for Literature worth a $100,000 each, and run the Bonny Vocational Centre which awards the International Technical Vocation Level 3 Certificate of London City and Guilds and the Nigerian Skills Technical Certificate to graduates.

“I expect that the new laboratory complex will be put to excellent use. The present administration has called for home-grown solutions to the problems facing us as a nation- from agriculture, power generation and distribution, technological advancement, to healthcare and infrastructure development,” he said.

The Executive Governor of Kwara State, Dr. Ahmed in his address commended Nigeria LNG stating that it has distinguished itself as a unifying corporate organisation in the face of the diverse interests plaguing the unity of the country, evidenced by the intense clamour for regional autonomy and resource control in the respective zones. He added the USP programme was a rare show of commitment to the good of the nation in spite of the security and other situations plaguing various parts of the country.

The projects in the remaining two universities, University of Maiduguri and University of Nigeria, Nsukka, are at different levels of completion.

The six universities were selected based on rankings by the National Universities Commission (NUC), other international bodies, as well as long standing contributions to the development of local capacity in Nigeria and their out-standing performance within each of the six geopolitical zones in the country, especially in the area of engineering and technical education.

The USP programme is one of NLNG’s interventions in education. The company administers a scholarship programme that covers secondary school, undergraduate and overseas post-graduate studies. The scholarship has benefited some 3000 Nigerian students.

Nigeria LNG Limited is the most significant arrow-head of the federal government’s quest to eliminate gas flaring and derive value from the country’s 187 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves.

NLNG is owned by four shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC (49%), Shell Gas BV, SGBV, (25.6%), Total LNG Nigeria Limited (15%), and Eni International (N.A,) N. V. S. a. r. l (10.4%).