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17.08.2004 Business & Finance

West Africa Gas Project ‘Bad’ For Ghana

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The Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission, Kofi Asante, says the West African Gas Pipeline Project is a bad deal for Ghana.

He is particularly accusing the Energy Minister, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, of not listening to the Energy Commission, the body created by the government to advise it on energy matters.

The commission reports to the Energy Ministry and it has been involved in the discussions on the gas pipeline project since it began some five years ago.

According to Mr. Asante although the concept is a good one, the contractual agreements will not favour Ghana in the near future.

The West Africa Gas Pipeline Project is an inter-regional energy infrastructure created by four West African Countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and Benin.

The project is expected to create a pipeline that will transport natural gas from the West delta area of the Nigerian oilfields offshore, along the territorial waters of the countries to Takoradi for the generation of electric power to be distributed to the member states.

The four countries created the gas line project in conjunction with Chevron Texaco and some other corporate entities.

But Mr. Kofi Asante has serious issues with the ownership of the project, the economics of it and access to the facilities.

Mr. Asante argues that the vesting of the project in the hands of an offshore company is not the best—a point Dr. Nduom disagrees with.

Chevron Texaco together with two other Nigerian companies own almost 80 per cent of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company, which will build, own and operate the pipeline.

The Volta River Authority, representing Ghana, has a 16.3 per cent stake in the company while the power producing companies of both Benin and Togo have two per cent shares each

Mr. Asante argues that the nations signing the treaty to establish the company should own the project and not the private corporate groups since they own the coastal shores in line with international codified law.

He told JOY FM's Super Morning Show Host, Komla Dumor on Tuesday that the Minister of Energy, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom has refused to listen to him and the Energy Commission's submissions on the project.

Dr. Nduom however told JoyNews on Monday that Mr. Asante has no case.

He said the issues Mr. Asante is raising now have been heard before and they have been discussed and duly agreed on so he was surprised he was raising them again.

Other concerns expressed by the Executive Secretary of the commission border on cost of the gas, which to him will be unreasonable.

The gas pipeline project is expected to provide a new market for natural gas and enlarge sources of energy requirements in the region.

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