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ECOWAS mulls gas pipeline network expansion


Peter O’Sullivan

Peter O’Sullivan,

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has moved a step further to boost economic integration among the West African states, with plans to expand the gas pipeline network in the sub-region for improved business activities.

Already, the ECOWAS has approved a feasibility study contract to examine West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) system performance and possibility of future network extension to the community states The contract recently signed with an energy service firm, Penspen will cover the examination of WAGP’s performance since its completion in 2010 and what measures need to be taken to optimise its operation.

The work however includes a technical and economic analysis of the extension of the pipeline conditions; market assessments will be made of possible ECOWAS countries to consider where network extension can be substantiated and estimates of the required investments will be made to quantify costs and benefits.

The study is planned to take 18 months and will include a number of validation workshops to review progress and study results involving experts from ECOWAS member states and sub-regional institutions. Commenting on the development, the Chief Executive Officer of Penspen, Peter O’Sullivan, said: “The signing of the contract for this significant study marks yet another occasion where the critical early phase abilities and experience of Penspen has been recognised by multinational clients.

This study builds on our established work and reputation gained for other feasibility study work on major projects such as Kampala-Kigali, AGRI, TAPI and Trans-Sahara.” ECOWAS includes 15 member states covering an area of over 5.1 million square kilometres (km) with an estimated population of about 300million inhabitants.

West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) is a natural gas pipeline to supply gas from Nigeria’s Escravos region of Niger Delta area to Benin, Togo and Ghana. It is the first regional natural gas transmission system in sub-Saharan Africa with a total distance of 678 km, with 569 km offshore.

Ghana had early this year lamented the extra costs incurred to run its Volta River thermal plant, due to alleged unreliable gas supply from Nigeria through the WAGP.

The Four West African nations including Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Togo had entered into an agreement on gas supply through the WAGP, to boost power generation and industrialization of the West African corridor.

Ghana’s Volta Riva Authority however said the nation had spent $55million every three weeks to purchase crude oil to run the power generation plants in the country, due to unavailability of gas. Meanwhile, The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said the Nigerian government was committed to ensuring that the WAGP became more functional.

The NNPC said Nigerian government had put in place numerous measures at the national and international levels to ensure that the project was beneficial to the sub-region.

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