… Nigeria counts gains of regional cooperation
The current Russian –Ukrainian war is having some positive impacts on gas business in the West African sub-region. The regional gas project, West African Gas Pipeline Company, WAPCo, claimed on Tuesday that it sold 258 million standard cubic feet of gas in 24 hours in March.
Gregory Germani, Managing Director of WAPCo, who disclosed this during the WAGPA Committee of Ministers Meeting in Abuja, said the gas company saw the highest one-day peak of 258 million standard cubic feet of gas per day in March, as a result of this development the company has set a new monthly average record of 215 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas for itself.
“Given the history of supply challenges on the West African Gas Pipeline in the past, these constitute remarkable progress, demonstrating how gas supply prospects on the WAGP have evolved and reflected how hard we have worked to overcome previous vulnerabilities,” he said.
According to him, the company, together with the West African Gas Pipeline Authority, would implement the novel WAGP Network Code to further advance growth opportunities and offer a level-playing ground for all parties.
Speaking also, at the occasion, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the cooperation among member nations on the West African Gas Pipeline Project, has paid off with numerous accomplishments achieved in record time.
The Minister of State enumerated projects achieved through cooperative efforts of member countries to include Project completion in 2011; Open Access implemented in 2012; Improved gas availability; Takoradi-Tema Interconnection Project (TTIP) which has significantly increased gas flow through the WAGP.
Others are the lifting of Force Majeure that was 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 which ultimately among other things will give a licensing power to WAGP Authority to oversee the activities of the Shippers as it relates to the WAGP, for free and fair business environment on the WAGP.
According to Sylva, over the years, the Nigeria Government had shown leadership in ensuring that WAGPA is properly positioned to ensure that the objectives for which the organization was set up were achieved.
He assured that Nigeria will continue to work with all stakeholders for the improvement of the project performance, adding that ‘there are more to achieve and we are determined to get to the zenith of our targets, which are to deepen gas supplies and utilization within the ECOWAS sub-region.
The Minister said the West African sub-region is lucky that the global community has classified gas as part of renewable energy, stressing the need for the sub-region to harness abundant natural gas deposits within the borders before it’s too late.
“Since we cannot but join the global energy transition train we must hurry to explore and exploit the abundant natural gas deposits within the borders of our respective countries.
“On the institutional level, the meeting today is a follow-up on the extraordinary meeting of the Committee of Ministers held in Accra, Ghana on 16 November 2021 to consider issues related to the appointment of the Director-General (DG) of WAGPA.
“Distinguished colleagues, we are gathered here today, in this beautiful city of Abuja, to deliberate on the major issue of institutionalizing WAGPA as a dependable sub-regional ECOWAS institution. The solution that emerged from our discussions in Accra, in November 2021 which is to move ahead with the appointment of a Nigerian as a Director-General for WAGPA is very critical.
“Dear colleagues, I know we have some differences in respect of the appointment of the DG but I am confident that through a common understanding, which has been the hallmark of this body, we will all agree to respect one another’s existing right under the WAGP Treaty in the interest of mutual respect for one another as partners in this Project, which we all know is governed by a binding treaty and agreements.
“As parties to the treaty and the agreements, we should all be guided by the applicable provisions of these legal instruments especially section 4(2) of Article IV of the Treaty, which guides the appointment of the Director-General of WAGPA.
“It is clear that section 4(2) of Article IV of the WAGP Treaty does not discriminate against any State Party in the appointment of the Director-General of WAGPA and by my letter earlier to you my dear colleagues, I have conveyed this express position of the Treaty.
“In the circumstances, therefore, I will seek the understanding and cooperation of all to be guided by the provisions of the Treaty in reaching a sustainable, profitable and fair decision on this matter.
“It cannot be argued otherwise that in a situation like this, to be guided by the Treaty, which brought the State Parties together is the most dependable internal mechanism provided for conflict resolution. It would be most unfair to disregard an applicable provision of the Treaty in violation of the existing right of one of the parties to the Treaty” he said.
WAPCo is owned by companies in Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and the Benin Republic, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, which has a 24.9 percent stake in it.