26 June 2016, Lagos — Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said the ongoing sub-sea gas pipeline project by the Dangote Group which will supply three billion cubic feet of gas daily had the potential of solving the problem of electricity shortage which had plagued the nation for decades.
Speaking when he paid a working visit to the Dangote’s ongoing $17 billion Gas pipeline, fertiliser, petrochemicals and refineries project at the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), said the investment as a whole was an incredible industrial project being the largest and the most ambitious in Africa and possibly the entire world.
Addressing journalists after a two-hour presentation on the entire project, Osinbajo said the gas pipeline project “is meant to supply 3 billion cubic of gas daily to Lagos and its axis. It will largely address power outage. That is huge when compared with our current requirement, it is about 2 billion cubic of gas daily.
“If it can be done, it is a major asset for Nigeria. It will boost our gas supply tremendously. For me, that is the most important project that could be done in this country. It will be a major boost for industrial development.”
He explained that the sub-sea installation, estimated at N500 billion, would go all the way from Bonny in Rivers State through Ogedegbe, Olokola to Lekki and Escravos Lagos pipeline and then West Africa Gas Pipeline.
In terms of security, Osinbajo said the pipeline “is secure. The pipeline is installed under the sea. It is a subsea project. It is fortified and goes into the sea. It is not what anybody can go there and vandalise with the way it is designed. It is designed to prevent vandalism. It is designed very deep into the sea.”
Noting that the project would boost power supply tremendously, he said on completion it would be a major strategic asset for Nigeria.
Commenting on the refinery, he said: “It is meant to refine 650,000 barrels per day. By all projection, it is the largest in the world. It has a petrochemical plant. It also has fertilizer plant, which is projected to be the largest in the world.”
Speaking further, he said, “The refinery will take off in the first quarter of 2019. I think the sub-sea gas pipeline, which is a very important project, is meant to take off in 2018. The gas pipeline projects there is an incredible industrial undertaking. It is possibly the largest and the most ambitious on the continent today. It is truly inspiring to see.”
In his remarks, President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said the decision to site the projects in Lagos was due to the investment-friendly climate in the state.
“Lagos is one states that is very investor friendly and the governor himself has always been asking, what are the issues, and he normally put in place steps to resolve those issues immediately,” he said.
Dangote said the Gas Pipeline Project would guarantee uninterrupted power supply in Lagos on completion, which he said would also positively increase the State’s Gross Domestic Project (GDP).
Dangote further said the projects would also attract other bigger investors into the Zone.
He also said the projects would benefit the local communities as at least 65 percent of people in the catchment area would be employed, while over 1,000 would be trained.
“Our target is that in the next five years or so from now, we hope and we believe that half of Nigeria’s crude will be refined and exported rather than just exporting crude to go and create jobs elsewhere,” Dangote said.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, while commenting on the investment, said the refinery, petrochemical, gas and fertiliser projects being undertaken by Africa’s richest man, Dangote, in Lagos, would significantly boost the economy of the state and Nigeria in general.
According to Ambode, “First, there is a refinery project that is ongoing, second there is a petrochemical project that is also ongoing. There is pipeline transfer project that brings gas from Bonny down to Olokola and down to Lekki and then the fourth one is the fertiliser project all in one location.”
He said the projects would also be critical to the economic growth of the Lagos East and West Senatorial Districts, which according to him, will be open to massive investment opportunities on completion.
On the working visit with the vice president were the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Works, Power & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and former Ekiti State Governor, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo among others.
*Crusoe Osagie, Alike Ejiofor & Gboyega Akinsanmi – Thisday