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17.03.2009 Business & Finance

Gas from WAGP due in March 2010

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The long awaited West Africa Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP) is expected to be completed by January 2010, with the first free flow of natural gas from the pipeline to generate power at the Takoradi plant, to begin by March 16, 2010.

Nigeria's Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Odein Ajumogobia, disclosed this at the opening session of the Committee of Energy Ministers of West Africa Gas Pipeline Authority (WAGPA) and WAGPCo, in Cotonou, Benin Republic, at the weekend.

The Minister assured members of the WAGPA, Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic that despite the initial hiccups, January 2010 was certain. He also said that the Nigerian government was determined to ensure that the 133 million square cubic feet per day (mscfd) of natural gas signed under the initial agreement was available on completion of the project. “As you are aware, we have taken every opportunity through our resolve and commitment to underscore the point that this project will bring with its importance to our sub-region. “Our commitment rests on our conviction that this project shall lead to regional cooperation and economic integration that would raise the living standard of our people. This is the foundation of our unflinching commitment,” he said.

He said, “To us in Nigeria, the (WAGP) project is one major milestone in achieving one of our own policy goals which is to carve out and develop a vibrant gas sector and to properly stimulate the gas business in the country.

Furthermore, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua is disposed to making the necessary efforts in finding solutions together with other countries to ensure that this project succeeds”.

Ajumogobia further stated that the “common efforts in the past years have allowed the project attain a very important milestones today with the completion of the main offshore pipeline from Lagos to Takoradi, and the temporary facilities put in place to supply free flow of gas to Takoradi.

We are happy to note that the system has been successfully commissioned and ready for operation. It is our hope and expectation that the Takoradi plant will soon be commissioned and start generating power from natural gas. This will be a concrete achievement of part of our goal of this project.”

The Minister said with the achievements “made by various partners and stakeholder groups to reach this stage of the project, it is my hope and expectation that these cooperative efforts, buoyed by the support and good will among partners and stakeholders will be sustained into the future as the project will soon move into the operation stage by the grace of the Almighty God. We hope that this dynamism will be sustained so that the remaining works will be completed to enable the countries benefit from the gas from Nigeria”.

WAGPCo , according to Jack Derickson, its Director General, has so far spent a whopping $719 million on the project since it took off in 2004, and stated further that the shareholders have just approved an additional $255 million to be spent on the project over the next one year.

In all, the company would have spent $974 million for the completion of the project from inception to completion by 2009.He said the amount of money would be devoted to the completion of the project, which is due to begin delivery of natural gas to the member countries in commercial quantity by January 2010.

The WAGPCo has an installed natural gas capacity of 170 million square cubic feet of gas per day but with an additional capacity to upgrade to 474 mscfd. Under the foundation agreement, Nigeria is to supply WAGPCo with 133 mscfd, but there is pressure on the Nigeria government from member countries to increase the quantity by another 100 mscfd, but Nigeria is yet to commit to it.

Those who were present at the meeting chaired by Ajumogobia were the host Minister of Energy and Water, Benin Republic, Sacca Lafia,  Minister of Energy, Ghana, Joe Oteng-Adjei and Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Togo, Dammipi Noupokou, .Others were the director generals of WAGPA, WAGPCo and members of the Board of Governors of the company.

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