Accra, Sept. 8, GNA - The West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited on Thursday said it had commenced the installation of the 569-kilometre main offshore segment of the sub-regional gas pipeline expected to supply natural gas from Nigeria to Ghana, Togo and Benin by the end of 2006.
The construction of the pipeline is commencing from Ghana with the project engineers estimating to lay the concrete coated pipes at an average rate of two to three kilometres per day. A statement issued in Accra and signed by Mr Clement Oke, the Company's General Manager in charge of Operations, said the offshore laying of the pipeline would parallel the coastline of beneficiary countries at a distance of approximately 15 to 20 kilometres offshore. The pipeline would be at depths of between 30 and 75 meters using the lay barge, Sea Horizon.
The lay barge, operated by Horizon Offshore Company, uses a mooring system to secure itself to the sea floor and move along the pipeline route, welding the concrete coated pipes and laying them at an average rate of two to three kilometres a day.
The onshore segment would commence in the fourth quarter of this year and involves the construction of regulating and metering/custody transfer stations in Takoradi and Tema in Ghana, Lom=E9 in Togo, Cotonou in Benin and an onshore pipeline in Nigeria.
The statement quoted Mr Funso Kupolokun, Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Chairman of the Company as saying: "As the first trans-national natural gas transmission system to be developed in the sub-region, we had complex challenges to overcome. "However the commencement of the offshore pipeline construction is a testament of the commitment that the states and pipeline company have always maintained towards the realisation of this important project." The statement said the pipeline being developed by West Africa Gas Pipeline Company Limited was expected to have a maximum capacity of 475 million standard cubic feet per day following expansion of the facilities to match projected market growth.
The project estimated to cost close to 600 million dollars is an initiative of the governments of Ghana, Nigeria, Benin and Togo under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States. It is to make available clean, abundant, stable and cost-effective natural gas supply from Nigeria as fuel for power generation and industrial development in Ghana, Togo and Benin.
The project is also expected to accelerate regional economic integration of ECOWAS countries and establish a reliable energy infrastructure to attract further investments in the region. The shareholders of the company are ChevronTexaco West African Gas Pipeline Limited, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Shell Overseas Holdings Limited, Takoradi Power Company Limited and Societ=E9 Togolaise de Gad and Societ=E9 Bengaz S.A.