Conference: iPAD (Infrastructure Partnerships for African Development) West Africa
Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Presenter: Magbonde Leonce
Abstract: Presented by Magbonde Leonce at iPAD (Infrastructure Partnerships for African Development) West Africa

The West African Gas Pipeline Project is the first trans border project in the West African sub region. This project has been initiated with ECOWAS in the framework of the economic integration of the 4 States Parties namely, Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana.

With this project, a part of the natural gas produced in the Niger Delta region in Nigeria will be transported through a high pressure pipeline via the existing Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS), to supply the economically viable markets in Benin, Togo and Ghana where the natural gas will be used mainly for power generation (85%) and industrial heat needs (15%).

The project is funded by the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) owned by Chevron (36.7%), NNPC (25%), Shell (18%), VRA (16.3%), BenGaz (2%) and SoToGaz (2%).

The States Parties established the West African Gas pipeline Authority (WAGPA) in 2003 to represent them and regulate the natural gas transportation activities in the WAGP.

The project is basically planned to be run in 5 phases (Conception, Feasibility, Definition, Construction and Operation).Up today, the 3 first phases are completed. The construction phase started in June 2005 and is not yet completed. The Mechanical Completion Date has been delayed because of technical and contractual constraints on the onshore EPC contract.
To mitigate the delay, a free flow option has been implemented and the pipeline is ready since June 2008 to transport free flow gas (without compressor) from Lagos in Nigeria to Takoradi in Ghana. But because of the high water content of the gas (above the specifications for WAGP: 7 pounds / MMscf) , the commissioning of the pipeline was suspended.

The initial cost of the project is USD 614 millions but because of the delay, the current cost is up to USD 900 millions.

The implementation of the project is currently facing 3 main challenges which are major concerns for the States Parties and for WAPCo. These are:

  • The Natural Gas availability in Nigeria (quality and quantity of gas);
  • The limitation of the capacity of the pipeline;
  • The safety of the pipeline.

Two new contractors (DBN/Entrepose & Zakhem) have been selected to replace the onshore EPC contractor Willbros after termination of its contract. They will complete the remaining works of the pipeline construction (Lagos Beach Compressor Station, laterals and R&M stations in Benin, Togo and Ghana).
 
The schedule discussed with these contractors planned the mechanical completion for end October 2009. The hope is that the 3 concerns above be handled properly so that the buyer countries (Benin , Togo and Ghana) could get the 1st  full compressed gas by end 2009 / early 2010.