29 September 2014, Lagos – Apparently concerned over the under-utilisation of the $1 billion West African Gas Pipeline, Project, WAGP, the West African Gas Pipeline Company, WAGPCo, operator of the pipeline system, has commenced negotiations with potential users of the pipeline and other stakeholders in the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to ensure optimum utilisation and security of the pipeline network.
WAGPCo’s General Manager in charge of Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Harriet Wereko-Brobby, who confirmed this development in Lagos at the weekend, said the company was currently working on the “Open Access” declared a year ago to enable gas producers and shippers have access to the pipeline.
She noted that potential users of the pipelines are also making moves to get gas producers that can supply them gas through the pipelines.
“Once the users and producers sign their contracts, the users can come to us to say that they have a contract and that they need us to transport the gas,” she said.
THISDAY gathered that currently, the only user of the pipeline is N-Gas, which is jointly-owned by Shell, Chevron and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
N-gas buys gas from oil companies in Nigeria and transports it to its customers in Benin Republic Togo and Ghana through the pipeline.
The International Project Agreement (IPA) signed in May 2003 by WAGPCo and the Government of Benin Republic, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo, with the Secretariat of the ECOWAS as witness, provides that N-Gas be allocated a space in the pipeline that could transport up to 200million standard cubic per day of gas (200mmscf).
Though N-Gas is being allocated over 134mmscf space in the 475mmscf capacity pipeline, it was gathered that the company could only deliver about 70 or 60mmscf of gas to the pipeline, leaving the $1billion facility to be sub-optimally utilised.
Due to the non-utilisation of the pipeline by N-Gas, sub-regional ministers, otherwise referred to as the Committee of Ministers of the West African Countries involved in the pipeline project amended the IPA to enable other entities to use the pipeline.
Wereko-Brobby, however, said the company had also continued with its efforts to ensure the protection of the pipelines.
“Right now, our focus is to see how the pipeline can be filled, so that the company can be sustainable and also to ensure that the purpose of the pipeline can be fulfilled. The success of WAGPCo is very important to ECOWAS. What they feel is that if WAGPCo succeeds, that means that all other efforts towards regional integration can succeed,” she added.
According to her, the company have had two for a where it brought together subject matter experts together, including naval forces, maritime authorities and port authorities from different countries to find ways of protecting the pipelines.
“They indicate that their interest is even in protecting the waters because these instances of piracy are dangerous, not only to WAGPCo but also to all the companies that have installations in the sea. So, in the sub-region, even at the ECOWAS level, they have agreed that it is a matter of priority to protect the pipelines and all the nations are collaborating to do that,” she added.
The $1billion West African Gas Pipeline transports Nigeria gas to the Republic of Benin, Togo and Ghana for power generation and other domestic uses.
The pipeline started from Itoki area of Ogun State and goes through Agido near Badagry in Lagos, passing through 33 Nigerian communities and thereafter goes offshore.
Shareholders in the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo), include Chevron, Shell, NNPC, Volta River Authority, BenGaz and Soto Gaz.
– This Day