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24.11.2007 General News

Use of dynamite in fishing a danger to Gas Pipeline

Experts have warned that the use of dynamite and other illegal methods in fishing near the offshore gas pipeline could result in serious problems if they are not immediately checked.

They said any of such activities on the pipeline could result in great loss of lives, the sinking of ships, as well as heavy explosions t that would culminate in the loss of revenue to the beneficiary countries of the West African Gas Pipeline project.

These sentiments were expressed at a stakeholders' forum in Takoradi on offshore gas pipeline safety awareness organised by the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo).

Under the West Africa Gas Pipeline project, natural gas is expected to flow from Nigeria through Benin and Togo to Ghana around Christmas.

According to the General Manager in charge of Operations of WAGPCo, Mr Aderemi Oladapo, the two major areas that needed critical attention were the Tema and Takoradi destinations of the product.

He said there was a comprehensive system that would ensure that people stayed clear of the pipelines, adding that if any of such warnings were ignored, it would bring about serious problems.

The general manager indicated that the cost of repairs on the pipeline in any form was very huge, apart from the danger associated with damage to it.

Mr Oladapo said with the prices of crude oil on the world market skyrocketing, it was important that citizens partnered the company to ensure that the flow of gas did not encounter any difficulty.

In his presentation, the Operations Assistant of the company, Mr Benoni Owusu Ayeh, gave an example of the damaged portion of the pipeline by an unknown vessel in Benin waters.

"We are very lucky that the flow has not commenced; it would have been a disaster and a complete setback for the project that is supposed to be a blessing for the countries," he said.

He said the protection and security of the pipeline was the statutory responsibility of the Ghana Navy.

The Western Naval Commander, Captain Anim gave-the assurance that the Navy would protect the pipeline.

"We in the Navy consider the project very vital when it comes to security. We therefore, want to assure the nation that if there will be any threat to the line, it will not be in Ghanaian territory as far as we are concerned," he added.