By John Ikani
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, on Tuesday said the Nigerian Government would continue to work with stakeholders for the improvement of the West African Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP) performance.
He said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the meeting of the committee of ministers of the West African Gas Pipeline Authority (WAGPA) project.
The West African Gas Pipeline Authority (WAGPA) is an international institution established by the treaty on the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) Project signed by the Heads of States of the Republic of Benin, the Republic of Ghana, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Togo.
According to the minister, the WAGP project originated from the ECOWAS Energy Policy and is aimed at fostering economic development and integration among the ECOWAS States through cross border natural gas transportation.
He added that the FG has ensured that WAGPA was properly positioned to ensure that the objectives for which the organisation was set up were achieved, and to also boost economic integration and cooperation in the sub-region.
The minister described the meeting as a commitment to the success of the project – a true proof of economic integration and cooperation in the sub-region.
He said the meeting came at a very critical time, especially with the changing socio-political landscape prompted by the Russian-Ukrainian war that had put pressure on global gas demand across Europe.
Sylva said since its inception, the committee had worked collectively to achieve some successes and projects through cooperative efforts of member countries despite the challenges in the sector.
Sylva included the projects completed as Open Access, implemented in 2012; Improved Gas Availability; and Takoradi-Tema Interconnection Project (TTIP), which has significantly increased gas flow through the WAGP.
He added that other completed projects include the Lifting of Force Majeure, in place by Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) between June 2013 and October 2020; the reforms of the Access Code to the WAGP network code and the ongoing amendment to the WAGP Act and the WAGP Regulations.
He said this would ultimately give a licencing power to WAGP authority to oversee the activities of the shippers as related to the WAGP, for a free and fair business environment.
“However, there are more to achieve and we are determined to get to the zenith of our targets, which are to deepen gas supplies and utilisation within the ECOWAS sub-region,” he said.
“The global community has classified gas as part of renewable energy.
“Since we cannot but join the global energy transition train we must hurry to exploit the abundant natural gas deposits within the borders of our respective countries.”
On the institutional level, he said the meeting was a follow-up on the extraordinary meeting of the committee held in Accra, Ghana on November 16, 2021, to consider issues related to the appointment of the director-general of WAGPA.
He said the solution that emerged from its discussions in Accra, in November 2021, to move ahead with the appointment of a Nigerian as director-general for WAGPA was very critical.
“In the circumstances, therefore, I will seek the understanding and cooperation of all to be guided by the provisions of the AGPA Treaty in reaching a sustainable, profitable and fair decision on this matter,” he said.
Furthermore, he appreciated the effort of its partner, the West African Gas Company Ltd. (WAPCo), as operator of the pipeline to implement the International Project Agreement and assure transportation of natural gas from entry points to customers in the state parties.
He said the ECOWAS commission had initiated the West African Gas Pipeline Expansion Project (WAGPEP) and was currently working with the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) Project for possible synergy between the two projects.
“I also know that WAPCo and WAGPA are working closely with the entities to provide technical assistance and experience to achieve the synergy to increase the potential to deliver natural gas for more countries in the ECOWAS sub-region and beyond,” he said.