THE $1.1BILLION West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project has been completed and may be commissioned this month, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Funsho Kupolokun has said.
The commissioning ceremony of the 1,000km project will be performed by President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.
The 1,000km pipeline passes through onshore and offshore from Nigeria's Niger Delta region to its planned terminus in Ghana.
Four nations namely, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Benin signed a 20-year agreement on the implementation of the pipeline which provides for a comprehensive legal, fiscal and regulatory framework, as well as a single authority for the implementation of the project.
The project began in 1982, when the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) proposed the development of a natural gas pipeline throughout West Africa.
In the early 1990, a feasibility report deemed that the project was commercially viable.
In September 1995, the governments of the afore-mentioned four African countries signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA). The feasibility study was carried out in 1999.
On 11 August 1999, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by participating countries in Cotonou. In February 2000, an Inter-Governmental Agreement was signed.
The WAGP implementation agreement was signed in 2003 but the construction started in 2005.
The first gas delivery is scheduled for March 2007 and the main user would be the Takoradi Power Plant in Ghana.
The pipeline is owned and operated by the consortium of Chevron (38 per cent), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (25 per cent), Royal Dutch Shell (17 per cent), Takoradi Power Company Limited (16 per cent), société de Togolaise de Gaz (SoToGaz - 2 per cent) and société de Beninoise de Gaz S.A. (SoBeGaz - 2 per cent).
Both public and private sector companies from these four countries are collaborating in a joint venture company known as the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCO) to construct and operate the pipeline.
As a source of lower-cost sustainable fuel for power generation and direct use for industrial and commercial customers, the pipeline fosters an enabling environment for economic development and job creation in the sub-region.