Energy Ministers and other stakeholders in the West African region yesterday in Abuja called for necessary actions that would address inherent challenges in gas supply across the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to facilitate sustainable development in the sub-region.
The experts, who discussed the need for ECOWAS, especially the countries that are served by the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) to address gas related issue, noted that sustainability of gas infrastructure remained crucial to the future of energy in the sub-region.
WAGP, a natural gas pipeline that supplies gas from Nigeria’s Escravos region of Niger Delta area to Benin, Togo and Ghana, is the first regional natural gas transmission system in sub-Saharan Africa with a total distance of 678 km, with 569 km offshore.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said stability in the Niger Delta region has aided prompt supply of gas through the pipelines, noting that the group must work harder to ensure that challenges related to interconnection, operation, tariff and regulation were addressed.
ECOWAS is currently looking at boosting economic integration among the West African states, with plans to expand WAGP pipeline.
A contract had already been signed with an energy service firm, Penspen to examine WAGP system performance and possibility of future network extension to the community states
Kachikuw insisted that it was important for the region to strengthen relationship and work together to mitigate challenges affecting energy security in the region.
“It is important that we do whatever we can to sustain this relationship. Something we have had issues of gas sufficiency, sometimes issues of payment. We must remain very committed to ensure that whatever we are doing boost our relationship.
“We need to be futuristic. I look forward to a day when we will have adequate gas supply all over the West Africa region so that power can become available for citizen.
Providing power for the West Africa people is one of the most important issues and all of us must work together and try our best to achieve this objective,” he said.
Managing Director of WAGP, Walter Perez, said recent upgrade of the company’s compressor station in Nigeria boosted the organisation’s capacity to transport over 85, 000MMBt units of gas per day.
He said the company is making progress on a Western Interconnection Project that would be used to enable gas to flow from Western offshore Ghana to the primary load center for power generation.
Parez 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 (Ghana) imminently.”
He said all the partners in the WAGP project must work together and play key roles otherwise unlocking and maximizing value across regional enterprise would remain elusive.
Perez added that the completion of critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria would remove necessary barriers that will enable the company to operate effectively.