348 views | Akanimo Sampson | June 30, 2020
President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated that the Ajakuota-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline project is a star mandate programme of his administration.
Buhari who was speaking at the virtual flag-off ceremony of the project at the Ajaokuta, Kogi State and Rigachikun, Kaduna State campsites simultaneously, said the project will be completed within budgetary allocation and specifications in 24 months.
The Nigerian leader says the project is very dear to the citizenry and as such, must succeed.
Accordingly, he has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and partners to remain focused, noting that the gas pipeline project was part of the delivery of the present administration’s Next Level Agenda for sustainable development, enhancement of economic prosperity and increase of the country’s infrastructure assets.
Governors Yahaya Bello of Kogi and his Kaduna counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai physically flagged off the commencement of works at Ajaokuta and Rigachikun sites, while the President watched remotely via video-conference from the Council Chamber in Abuja.
‘We promised the Nation that we will expand the critical gas infrastructure in the country to promote the use of gas in the domestic market. These include the Escravos to Lagos Pipeline System – 2 (ELPS-2), Obiafu to Obrikom (OB3) pipeline and AKK.
‘‘These projects are fundamental to our desire to industrialise and energize the entrepreneurial spirit that is ever-present in our population’’, Buhari says.
The president said the project will provide gas for generation of power and for gas-based industries which would facilitate the development of new industries.
He also expressed optimism that the project, when completed would ensure the revival of moribund industries along with transit towns in Kogi, Abuja, Niger, Kaduna and Kano States.
According to him, the cascading effect and impact of the gas pipeline, when operational, will be immeasurable.
‘‘It has significant job creation potential both direct and indirect while fostering the development and utilisation of local skills and manpower, technology transfer and promotion of local manufacturing’’, he said.
According to him, Nigeria had learnt invaluable lessons from the global COVID-19 pandemic and some oil-rich countries that have used their crude as a pathway to economic and industrial diversification.
On the rampaging COVID-19, President Buhari said the pandemic had further underscored the drive of his administration for export substitution initiatives and projects that promote local manufacturing.
On diversification, he said, ‘‘Gulf countries that have similar levels of gas reserves as Nigeria, have a strategy centred around gas-industrialization as their foundation towards export diversification.
“This has to be our guiding principle as we seek to attract investment and create opportunities for our people.’’ He also used the occasion to challenge the private sector to lead the charge in maximising the nation’s gas resources.
Continuing, Buhari said the private sector can create a petrochemical hub that will resurrect the manufacturing industry and put the nation on the path to increased self-sufficiency.
‘‘As the world evolves, we owe our people the responsibility to prepare them for what the future holds. We, therefore, must be bold and fearless and can no longer be incremental in our approach.
‘‘Time is short, and our people’s zeal is strong and palpable. Infrastructure development although long, tedious and complex remains a cardinal objective of our Administration’s drive towards ensuring a stable, sustainable and more prosperous future for our citizenry.
‘‘Today marks an important chapter in the history of our great Nation.
“It marks the day when our domestic natural gas pipeline networks; from Obiafu in Rivers State, Escravos in Delta State and Lekki in Lagos State, are being connected through Kaduna to Kano States thereby enhancing national energy security, creating balanced development, and further integrating our nation’,’ he said.
He commended the government of China; the financiers the Bank of China and SINOSURE; and the two EPC Contractors (Brentex/China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau-CPP Consortia and Oilserve/China First Highway Engineering Company-CFHEC Consortia) for their support to deliver the important project.
While commending the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPC and all relevant stakeholders on the historic and epoch-making occasion, Buhari also appealed to the governors of Kogi, Niger, Kaduna and Kano states as well as the Abuja Minister to provide the enabling environment and support for the project.
NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, explains that the gas pipeline project is part of the Trans-Nigeria gas pipeline project, pointing out that it involves the establishment of a connecting gas pipeline network that will integrate the Northern region of the country with the Niger Delta, Eastern and Western regions of the Country.
Continuing, he said the EPC contract for the 614km AKK gas pipeline project was awarded at a total contract sum of 2.592 billion dollars to Messrs. Oilserv Plc/China First Highway Engineering Company (Oilserv/CFHEC Consortium) for the first segment covering 303km.
Adding, he said Messrs Brentex Petroleum Services/China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (Brentex/CPP Consortium) got the contract for the second segment covering 311km under a debt-equity financing model with a loan from Bank of China and SINOSURE.
He said the loan will be repaid through the pipeline transmission tariff and supported by a sovereign guarantee. ‘‘We are confident that the EPC contractors will deliver the project on time, within budget and to quality/specifications’’, he said.
Upon completion, Kyari said the project will enable the injection of 2.2bscf/d of gas into the domestic market and facilitate additional power generation capacity of 3,600MW.