•Commends WAPCo’s 10-year commercial operations

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva says government is taking steps to expand and develop its huge gas resources through enhanced gas exploration, development and utilisation schemes.

Sylva disclosed this at the 10th-anniversary celebration of West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited, WAPCo, on Friday, in Lagos.

According to the Minister, “Nigeria has approximately 209 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven gas reserve, with a potential upside of 600TCF.

“This is well-placed to take a leading role in providing the much-needed gas.

“Furthermore, the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA 2021) will undoubtedly support Nigeria’s, and indeed the global, endeavour to eliminate energy poverty as envisioned in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

“The PIA has generous incentives to enhance the development, distribution, penetration, and utilisation of gas, even as it incentivizes entry into the midstream.”

Sylva added that Nigeria and Africa should play a leading role in the energy transformation to achieve net-zero emissions with natural gas playing a pivotal role.

He said the government should therefore persist in expanding the natural gas industry towards global economic recovery and shared prosperity.

“This is vital, taking into consideration that the current world population of about 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to United Nations estimates.

“About a half of the increases between 2017 and 2050 is expected from five nations in Africa – Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda,” he contended.

On the 10th anniversary of WAPCo, Sylva argued that its establishment represents the region’s effort at self-development and energy security.

According to him, “West Africa Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project objective at inception, amongst others, seeks to improve the competitiveness of the energy sectors in Ghana, Benin, and Togo.

“This is by promoting the use of cheaper and environment-friendly natural gas from Nigeria in lieu of solid and liquid fuels, for power generation and other industrial, commercial, and domestic uses.

“10 years down the line, the WAGP has become the poster child of economic integration in West Africa.

“The synergy that created this fellowship of industry players, under the public-private partnership banner, is the type we currently preach as an administration.

“WAGP has contributed tremendously to the growth of the participating countries’ power sectors, boost industrialization, generate jobs, enhanced revenue for the state parties, and improve infrastructure development.”

Greg Germani, Managing Director, WAPCo, said from conception through construction, all the way through the operational phase of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), Nigeria had constituted a constant and integral, part of the WAGP value chain.

He said Nigeria shared promises and resources with the rest of the sub-region.

“I also salute the vision and courage of ECOWAS and the commitment it took to navigate the complexities of forging a bond of four diverse nations, with two private concerns, to create this outstanding example of partnership and collaboration.

“As we travelled the entire stretch of the pipeline system, celebrating the successes and achievements of the WAGP and sharing our stories, I could only pause to marvel at the human spirit.

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, 10 years of operations will certainly come with obstacles and challenges.

“However, WAPCo is now an efficient and dependable natural gas transporter to customers in Benin, Togo, and Ghana, supporting safe, cleaner, efficient, long-term, and secure power generation from gas supply sources in both Nigeria and Ghana.

“WAPCo continues to focus on maintaining an important safety accomplishment that reflects our passion for and commitment to a strong safety culture,” he maintained.

Malam Mohammed Ahmed, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company, NGMC, said WAPCo had contributed to the development, distribution, penetration, and utilisation of gas in Nigeria.

Ahmed maintained that though the company had gone through different challenges, he added that it had made different achievements.

He urged them to continue the good work.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Olalere Odusote, said the administration was ready to partner with WAPCo to create more employment for its people.

Odusote commended the management of the company promoting the use of cheaper and environment-friendly natural gas from Nigeria in lieu of solid and liquid fuels.

He said the government of Lagos would continue to create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

Speaking on behalf of the host communities, Olota of Ota, Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, said they saw themselves as part of the stakeholders of the company.

Obalanlege said that the gas business had generated employment for youths in their communities.

He assured the management of the company of their usual cooperation.

The theme of the event was entitled: “Driving Regional Energy”.

Some company staff were rewarded with different awards for their outstanding performance.

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