Port Harcourt — The Federal Government has been warned that the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project, which is designed to move gas across the Sahara to Algeria, North Africa, and Europe would be a disaster to the country’s economic development, on the long run.
An industry expert, Dr. Joseph Ellah, who gave the warning said moving gas to other parts of the world from Nigeria when the country was itself not fully industrialized, would only mortgage the development of the country.
Ellah who is a former NNPC Group Managing Director, Corporate Planning and Development, said these while delivering a lecture titled, the Nigerian Economy and the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, at the 31st Convocation of the Rivers State University, in Port Harcourt.
He advised that a Niger Delta pipeline infrastructure should be put in place, rather than the current discussion on trans Sahara gas pipeline, which he said will kill the LNG plants in the country and quicken total gas depletion from Nigeria.
“Right now as I am speaking to you, NNPC is planning to move gas to Algeria, they call it AKK pipeline. That is Ajaokuta-Kano-Kaduna pipeline to Algeria. If that pipeline is constructed, NLNG and other LNG plants will die.
“We should not take our gas across the Sahara except we have finished supplying our industries. Else, it will be cheaper to buy Nigeria’s gas in Libya than in Nigeria. You don’t take gas to other countries unless you are totally industrialized yourself.
“I don’t mind gas going to Ajaokuta, Kaduna, and Kano, but moving gas from Nigeria across the Sahara to Europe or anywhere would help the gas to deplete faster than it would have originally.
“That should not be done until we are able to utilize all the gas we need for our own industrialization. We need a lot of gas for our gas revolution, if we now talk it up across the Sahara, we will be denying ourselves the raw materials we need for our own development.”
Ellah who was also a one-time Group General Manager, Upstream Investment at NNPC, also said NNPC and its subsidiaries should be commercialized as it was obtainable in other oil producing nations of the world.
“NNPC Should be allowed to operate as a commercial company, that is what is obtainable all over the world in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, etc.
“All these countries allowed their oil companies to operate as commercial companies, which imply the total elimination of political interference and nepotism. Their government doesn’t get involved politicizing what should be the commercial activity.
“In other words, they don’t have anything like equalization fund or any of its kind because these are political issues. If oil is found anywhere, the oil companies should go look for it.”