Reps order probe into $12bn trans-saharan gas pipeline project
The House of Representatives on Wednesday took steps to address the prolonged construction of the $12 billion worth Trans- Saharan Natural Gas Pipeline project.
The House urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited to provide updates on the implementation, fund utilisation and the current status of the project.
It also asked the NNPC to review the National Gas Master Plan relating to the project to ensure conformity with the variables of today’s global economy.
These resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion moved by Ahmed Munir, a member representing Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.
Moving the motion, Munir recalled that the NNPC on January 14, 2002, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Algerian National Oil and Gas Company (Sonatrach), for a $12 billion, 4,128 kilometres natural gas pipeline project with a projected annual capacity of 30 billion cubic metres that will extend gas supply to Europe.
He further noted that in June 2005, the NNPC and Sonatrach signed a contract with Penspen Limited for a feasibility study of the project, which was completed in September 2006, and the pipeline was discovered to be technically and economically feasible and reliable which in turn led to the inter-governmental agreement on the pipeline signed by the energy ministers of Nigeria, Niger and Algeria on July 3, 2009, in Abuja.
The lawmaker expressed concern that in 2013, the Federal Government approved a budget of $400 million for the commencement of the project originally scheduled to be operational by 2020 but with no commensurate progress made to date.
He said the House was cognizant that “a new Gas Master Plan (GMP) needs to be crafted due to the current geopolitical realities such as the newly completed 20,000 barrels per day Zinder Refinery in Niger Republic, new Niger-Benin Republic Pipeline due for completion in 2023, discovery and exploitation of hydrocarbons in commercial quantity in the Lake Chad region of Chad Republic, prospecting of oil and gas on the Nigerian side of the Lake Chad, the discovery of hydrocarbons in Bauchi, the spike in the cost of hydrocarbon, security situation along the right of way across the Sahel, as well as the Russia-Ukraine conflict leading to the Western nations looking for alternative sources to meet their energy demand.
“We also take cognizant that the successful completion of this vital project will create jobs, spur economic growth, and enhance energy and regional security,” he added.
The House in adopting the motion mandated its committee on gas resources to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.