The first gas delivery from the West African Gas Pipeline has been delivered, after a three year construction programme.
An initial 30 million cubic feet of gas per day has been delivered to Ghana since 11 December 2008 and is expected to help relieve recent power shortages experienced in that country.
The pipeline, which stretches 680 kilometres from Nigeria and covers Benin, Togo and Ghana. The majority of the gas will go to Ghanaian industrial sectors in Tema and Takoradi.
Construction started on the pipeline in 2005, but numerous delays were caused by security concerns and political instability.
The project operator, WAPCo, is owned by, amongst others, Chevron and Shell, with guarantees provided by the World Bank and MIGA. A €75 million loan was provided by the European Investment Bank.
It is believed that some 10 000 – 20 000 new jobs will be created by the pipeline. In addition, additional power supply will encourage economic growth and an additional 30 000 – 60 000 jobs. It is also envisioned that some US$800 million in new investment will be encouraged by the operation of the pipeline.
A World Bank study estimates that some US$500 million can be saved in fuel costs by using gas from the pipeline instead of more expensive fuel options.