Nestoil blames delay of OB3 pipeline on weather
The delay in completion of the Obiafu, Obrikom, Oben (OB3) gas pipeline has been attributed to bad weather owing to flooding from continual rainfalls in areas of operation.
According to the Executive Director of Nestoil Group, Chukwueloka Umeh, the parts of the project the company is working on are the swampy areas starting from Omoku, Rivers State to Delta State, hence their sites goes under water during the raining season.
He said from the time the project was signed in 2012 till date, the rainfall pattern had changed so much and a lot of flooding had happened around the pipeline at the river section.
The Nestoil boss noted that as forecast by the Meteorological Association of Nigeria that rainfall would increase by 10 per cent this year, the River Niger banks were already overflowing, thereby causing most of their equipment to sink under water.
Umeh who commended Oilserv, one of the contractors handling the project for a great job in finishing their own scope, stated that unlike them that had to work mostly on land, Nestoil’s scope was in the swamp area were they have several months in a year when effective work takes place.
He advanced that although the project is about 87 per cent completed, the remaining task goes beyond just wielding, dropping and burying pipelines. “However, a pipeline with that size (48 inches diameter) can’t be handled in water while work is ongoing under water, as safety must be considered,” he added.
“Currently we are suppose to do horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to cross the pipeline under the river Niger, which is about two kilometers, it’s never been done in this part of the world for the size of that pipeline, but as I speak the HDD equipments has been covered with water, so we helpless,” he explained.
On cost he said they have been some variations due to the state of the economy, and therefore which had to be accommodated for contractors, and were recently approved.
Umeh, who disclosed that the project should be ready between the first and second quarters of 2019, also cited militancy and community issues as other hindrances to the projects.
The project he explained is not that straight forward as people perceive, but their client (Nigerian Gas Processing and Transportation Company (NGPTC), the Vice President’s office, the Senate and the House of Representatives have all visited the site and have appreciated their work terrain.
“If we were a foreign company, we would have stopped all operations in raining seasons, but we know the importance of those pipelines to government,” Umeh remarked.
The 48-inch diameter and 67-kilometre long gas pipeline is the largest gas pipeline in Nigeria and it’s expected to boost domestic gas supply by two billion standard cubic feet per day (bscf/d) when it begins operation.