By Dipo Olowookere A deal worth $1.7 billion that would increase crude oil production in the country by about 39,000 barrels per day has been completed by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It was gathered that the agreement, which is also expected to achieve an incremental peak production of about 283mmscfd of gas, was signed in London at the weekend. It is the second and final phase of an Alternative Financing Agreement between both parties. Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Maikanti Baru, who signed on behalf of his corporation, said the increment to be achieved by the agreement would spread \u201cover the remaining life of the asset (until 2045).\u201d According to him, the project, which is about 92 percent completed, will cost about $1.7 billion, with $780 million expected to be funded by third-party, while it will produce natural gas liquids and condensate extracted from the Sonam and Okan fields located in OML 90 and 91 in the Niger Delta. Mr Baru described the deal as a step in the right direction which would grow the nation\u2019s daily production and support the Federal Government\u2019s strategic domestic gas-to-power aspirations, while aligning with NNPC\u2019s 12 Business Focus Areas (BUFAs). He said the project would also include the completion of the Sonam non-associated gas (NAG) well platform and Sonam living quarters platform; drilling of seven wells in the Sonam field and the Okan 30E NAG well; as well as the completion of the 20\u201c x 32Km Sonam pipeline and Okan pig receiver platform and development of the associated facilities. \u201cAs we speak now, the facilities are 100 percent completed while wells are 40 percent executed,\u201d Mr Baru stated. In carrying out the project, the NNPC\/CNL JV adopted a 2-staged financing approach. While Stage 1 which provided $400 million sourced from Nigerian Commercial Banks (NCBs) achieved financial close on 1st August 2017, Stage 2, (signed today), is set to provide $380mn from International Commercial Banks (ICBs). Out of the $780 million total financing for both stages, Chevron\u2019s Co-lending totals $312 million while NNPC\u2019s portion of the total facility stands at is $468 million. Speaking further on the Alternative Financing approach, Mr Baru explained that it was aimed at plugging NNPC\u2019s shortfall in funding JV cash call obligations including settlement of pre-2016 cash call arrears. It will also enable full funding of NNPC\u2019s JV obligations to restore investors\u2019 confidence and stimulate further Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) as we are beginning to witness, he noted. Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director of CNL, Mr Jeff Ewing said his company supported the Federal Government\u2019s aspirations to sustain oil and gas production. \u201cWe know the important role gas supply to the domestic market plays in growing power generation. We also understand government\u2019s need to seek alternative sources to fund profitable and bankable JV Projects,\u201d Mr Ewing added. He commended Mr Baru and other partners for backing the third party financing arrangement, which he said, would lessen cash call burden on the federation account. He expressed Chevron\u2019s commitment to execute the programme safely, timely and deliver its expected values for all stakeholders. It would be recalled that in August this year, two sets of alternative financing agreements on JV projects were executed between the NNPC\/CNL JV (project Falcon) and the NNPC\/SPDC JV (Project Santolina). Both are aimed at boosting reserves and production in line with parts of the federal government\u2019s aspirations for the oil and gas industry.