GMD says project to create prosperity
The $2.8 billion Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project currently being executed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is on course to hit delivery schedule, the corporation has assured.
A 614 kilometers pipeline, the NNPC is plugging the project as a potential prosperity creator through massive job opportunities and its guarantee of peace for the country.
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Mele Kyari, group managing director of NNPC, at a gas sector stakeholders’ forum in Kano, Kano State with the theme: “Optimizing the Economic Development Capacity of Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project,” delivered a paper titled: “The AKK as an Economic Development Game-Changer – NNPC’s Vision, Contributions, & Plan Forward,” assured that the AKK gas project would help revamp about 232 industries, creating massive employment opportunities and prosperity for the people.
Kyari also said the AKK project would serve as a gas supply link to other African countries and Europe upon completion.
“This project has been on the drawing board for 30 years, and the dream was to have gas delivered to Europe across the Trans-Sahara route. What we are seeing today would deliver at least 2 billion standard cubic feet (bscf) of gas to the domestic market at the first instance, with the potential to increase it. What this means is that it will debottleneck the gas supply network in the entire country,” he informed.
According to him, the mainly northern based gas project would also lead to the development of three Independent Power Plants (IPPs) in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano, with the IPPs boosting electricity supply and promoting the growth of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
“I want to state clearly that this gathering would not have been possible if we don’t have a line of sight to the completion of the AKK gas pipeline project. This is possible because of the clear direction that Mr. President has shown on the need to deepen domestic gas consumption with a view to creating prosperity out of the enormous gas resources we have as a nation. He has given us all the necessary support and incentives to deliver on this project,” he stated.
But the jury of development economists remain out on the prospects being touted about the project that plans to pipe gas from the deep Niger Delta region to the far north. Challenges are seen around the industrial base of the area covered by the gas pipeline project which is said to be exaggerated. It could largely leave the project working below capacity, thereby not able to achieve the massive job creation being espoused, they say.
The AKK, like many other capital-intensive projects of the central government, is being financed from borrowings. As at June this year, Nigeria’s debt overhang stood at $86.3 billion, the highest in the country’s history.
But Kyari lists other benefits of the AKK gas project to include, boosts in agricultural, industrial, manufacturing and power sectors to the overall growth of the nation’s economy, adding that the gas pipeline project was in sync with the aspiration of the federal government to reduce the country’s carbon footprint in line with the global quest to arrest global warming and climate change and in furtherance of the government’s ‘decade of gas’ programme.
According to him, gas is a key driver of prosperity all over the world and it cannot be different in Nigeria, stressing that the extensive industrial layout in the Otta area of Ogun and Lagos States is anchored on the gas supply by the NNPC and its partners which is creating jobs and other opportunities for people.
Kyari’s position comes in the wake of a recent world ranking that flagged NNPC’s low carbon emission transition plan, describing the national oil company as not having sufficient awareness of climate issues, placing it in the 83rd position out of 100 most influential companies in their progress to the world’s goal of keeping global warming below 1.5ºC.
Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum, speaking at the forum, said the gas sector stakeholders forum would ensure collaboration amongst stakeholders geared towards kick-starting the required activities that would guarantee full usage of the gas to be delivered through the AKK pipeline when completed.
He spoke of the ministry’s commitment to realizing the inherent potentials of gas usage as a national catalyst for achieving economic diversification from crude oil, and as a transition fuel from fossil of today to the renewable energy of tomorrow.