The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has called for sustainability of the West African Gas Pipeline Project to increase supply of gas to West African countries and boost power supply.
Kachikwu made the call at the 17th meeting of Committee of Ministers of West African Gas Pipeline Authority in Abuja on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that WAGPA is an international institution established by the Treaty on the West African Gas Pipeline Project.
The project was signed by the Heads of States of the Republic of Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo.
It consists of 678 km pipeline to transport natural gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana for power plants and heat-using industries for the generation of power to electricity consumers in the region.
Kachikwu said the meeting in Nigeria was to consider the feedback on the issues discussed at the last meeting held in December 2017 in Lome, Togo.
He said the meeting was designed to get feedback on WAGP operational issues, status of the Western inter-connection, tariff and other regulatory issues.
He said: “We all have nurtured the WAGP project and today’s meeting will further strengthen our resolve to see that we move forward on pending issues to achieve the set targets.
“We must continue to build on our achievements and not to relent on our efforts. I sincerely hope the respective parties were able to make progress on the issues raised at the last meeting.
“We must endeavor to resolve those issues that will lead to the advancement and aspiration of our respective countries and region.”
The minister said the project should be sustained with the cooperation from all parties, as it was being celebrated all over Africa as the flagship project for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
He said: “It is a job that we cannot afford not to deliver but providing power to the African people, especially the west African people is always the single most important development item in this sub-continent.
“It is absolute important for us as brother ministers to continue to work very laboriously to archive this objective.”
He explained that the Federal Government of Nigeria had recorded stability of gas supply in the Niger-Delta.
Kachikwu said: “Through the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, we have been able to work with our brothers in Niger-Delta to create a bit more stability in the operational dynamic of this sector.
“The effect of that is the increased supply to this pipeline, although, not where you want us to be but certainly, we have substantially increased.
“Nigeria is becoming more assured and also when more gas resources are being discovered offshore Lagos.”
The Managing Director of West African Gas Pipeline Company, Walter Perez, said the actions of member nations was manifesting in a turn-around and a steady regional economic integration.
He said the situation in WAGPC had improved due to upgrade of the compressor station in Nigeria.
Perez said: “As a result of this, we have been able to demonstrate the capability to transport over 85,000 MMBtu/d.
“In addition, this upgrade has allowed us to be more consistent in delivering gas to our customers in spite of variations in pressure at Itoki.”
Perez explained that the efforts of Ghana’s Minister of Energy had resulted in the payment of a material portion of the company`s legacy debt.
The managing director said additional payments were currently being processed, and that more work was needed to retire the debt.
He said: “We are encouraged by the assurances given by the ministry that the legacy debt will be fully retired in 2018.”
According to him, the western interconnection project would enable gas flow from western offshore Ghana to the primary load center for power generation at Tema.
He said: “We have progressed engineering works and related procurement activities. We have also executed a construction management agreement with Eni.
“We are now eager for the construction to commence at Tema and Takoradi.”
Perez hinted that WAGPCO was currently working with WAGPA to redefine the tariff structure for the WAGP to promote increased utilisation and diversification of both supply and off-take.
He added: “Doing so will also enable gas from the WAGP to remain the fuel of choice in the West African sub-region.”