The federal government yesterday said the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline is a recipe designed to boost industrial activities in the northern region of the country which has witnessed a lot setback in recent time due to epileptic power supply. According to the government, the project when completed, will deliver gas to planned power plants that will generate additional 3,600 megawatts (MW) to be located in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu made this disclosure while speaking at the ongoing Nigerian Gas Association, NGA, 11th International Conference and Exhibition in Abuja. Explaining the economic viability of the project, the minister said some industries operating in the region have already indicated interest in purchasing gas as a source of energy to the power their factories. He added that the project will address the huge economic challenges currently facing the region.
He also stated that the government is considering alternative sources of gas supply for the country and that it is looking beyond the Niger Delta region for this new sources.
Commenting on the alternative sources of gas supply, Kachikwu, who was represented by his Senior Technical Adviser, Upstream and Gas, Mr. Gbite Adeniji, said the country can no longer tolerate a situation where 11 power plants across the country would be forced to shut down, once there is a disruption in gas supply through the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS).
Kachikwu further emphasised the strategic importance of the AKK pipeline project, noting that the aim of the project was to ensure that the project is delivered in a manner that gives confidence to the upstream that there is viable anchor projects to keep it going. However, the minister stated that until the AKK pipeline comes on stream, the country must look at the possibility of alternative gas supplies into the northern region and into other stranded gas markets in the country. Also speaking at the event, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, said the corporation is posed to reposition and revitalize the nation’s economy using its enormous gas resources.
In his welcome address, the outgoing President, Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) Engr. Dada Thomas said the Conference theme: “Shift to Gas Economy: Pace & Scale of Innovation in the West African Sub-Region” was carefully selected by the NGA Council in recognition of the rapid growth of gas resources in the region as more and more countries discover gas (Senegal, Sierra Leone ) or have started the production ( Ghana, Cameroon) joining Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and others in harnessing the vast potential of gas for their nation and people.
Meanwhile, Baru has appealed to host communities to collaborate with the corporation to tame oil pipeline vandalism in their areas.