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16.08.2005 Business & Finance

Offshore construction of pipeline starts on Aug 23

GNA

Tema, Aug. 16, GNA --Offshore construction of pipeline for the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project is to take off at Takoradi next week, Mr Kofi Asante Okai, External Affairs Manager of the project, disclosed in Tema on Tuesday.

Making the disclosure at a pre-construction stakeholders' educational programme, Mr Okai allayed the fears of Ghanaians about the construction activities and said the project would be managed in such a way to make it injury and incident free.

The forum, which was organised to solicit the support and co-operation of stakeholders was attended by representatives from the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the Ghana Shippers Council, the Volta River Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, Fire Service, the Ministry of Energy, and the Ghana Navy, among others. The WAGP project with a total construction cost of 560 million dollars will enable customers in Ghana, Benin, and Togo to access Nigeria's immense resources of natural gas as fuel for power generation and industrial development.

Mr. Okai stated that since Tema is the hub of the Marine Industry in the country, its Industrial Estates will have the highest point of demand of the gas, adding that the harbour city's demand over the next two decades is going to be doubled.

Outlining the benefits of the WAGP project, the External Affairs Manager said it would be a source of cost-effective, secure, clean and reliable energy for West Africa.

Furthermore, he said, it will provide a foundation to facilitate regional economic growth and development, and contribute to overall programme of Gas Flare Reduction in Nigeria. Turning to the construction phase benefits, Mr Okai stated, among others that the project is expected to directly create about 450 jobs in the four beneficiary countries.

The Senior Project Engineer, Mr Bala Nmadu, in a presentation outlined the objectives of the forum as to identify challenges of offshore construction as it affects stakeholders with emphasis on safety, to establish transparent communication for expressing offshore construction related opinions among others.

According to him, Pipeline Trench construction work on the project starts on September 5, in Takoradi, while that in Tema begins on October 10.

He advised fishermen and other marine operators to stay away from the project's operational areas, especially some perimeters around the vessel, which would be used in laying the pipes.

He said the vessel has some lights that stand out, adding that this is likely to attract fish which might also attract fishermen. He advised stakeholders not to hesitate to approach them with their complaints to ensure the smooth implementation of the project. 16 Aug. 05

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