ABUJA, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Nigeria's state-oil company NNPC said on Monday it will reduce its stake in the long-delayed Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project to 30 percent, from its current 49 percent, to secure much-needed investment.
The state-owned company has offered 4 percent of its stake to LNG Japan, which is jointly owned by trading firms Sumitomo (8053.T) and Sojitz (2768.T) and 3 percent to Itochu (8001.T) . A further 2 percent was offered to a joint venture between Nigeria's Sahara Energy and U.S.-based Sempra Energy (SRE.N).
NNPC said it has secured a $2 billion loan from a Japanese consortium, led by Japan Bank for International Co-operation, to help fund its share of the project.
"Everyone is looking to invest and we have invited others to join. It is a time everyone is looking to alternatives and the Japanese have been very interested in this project," an NNPC spokesman said.
He said stakeholders will make a final investment decision on the project in the first quarter of next year.
Brass LNG, whose shareholders also include multinational energy firms Eni (ENI.MI), ConocoPhillips (COP.N) and Total (TOTF.PA), opened construction bids last month for onshore and offshore works and for a sub-sea pipeline.
The project has suffered from years of delays of a lack of investment and the country's focus on crude oil production.
President Goodluck Jonathan, sworn in for his first full term in May, pledged during his campaign to unlock the potential of the world's seventh-largest gas reserves. (Reporting by Joe Brock;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)