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Shell, Chevron Unaware of NNPC’s Plan to Extend $1 Billion Gas Pipeline to Cote d’Ivoire

Shell and Chevron, which are major shareholders in the Chevron-run West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAGPCo), owners of the $1 billion West African Gas Pipeline, are not yet aware of the plan by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to extend the 678-kilometre pipeline to Cote D’Ivoire, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.

THISDAY also gathered at the weekend from the Managing Director of WAGPCo, Mr. Walter Perez that the existing pipeline, which runs from Nigeria to Togo is currently underutilised with only 70 million standard cubic feet per day of gas (mmscf/d) available in the 150mmscf/d capacity pipeline.

Perez, however, noted that the 70 mmscf of gas available daily is enough to service end users in Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic.

N-Gas, which is a separate company, also jointly-owned by Shell, Chevron and the NNPC, buys gas from oil companies in Nigeria and transport the it to its customers in Benin, Togo and Ghana, through the pipeline, operated by WAGPCo.

With headquarters in Accra, WAPCo is owned by Chevron West African Gas Pipeline Ltd (36.9 per cent); NNPC (24.9 per cent); Shell Overseas Holdings Limited (17.9 per cent); Takoradi Power Company Limited (16.3 per cent), Societe Togolaise de Gaz (two per cent) and Societe BenGaz S.A. (two per cent).

The pipeline is connected to Escravos-Lagos pipeline from Itoki area of Ogun State and goes through Agido near Badagry in Lagos, passing through 33 Nigerian communities and thereafter goes offshore to the three countries.

Despite the inadequate gas supply to the existing pipeline, which has left the $1bn facility virtually empty, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, represented by the corporation’s Chief Operating Officer in charge of Gas and Power, Mr. Saidu Mohammed, had told a delegation led by the Deputy Director, Production, Ministry of Petroleum of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Patrick Marshal, in Abuja early this month, that Nigeria would extend gas supplies from Escravos to Cote d’Ivoire through the pipeline.

The commitment to extend the pipeline is also coming at a time many power generating plants in Nigeria are idle as a result of insufficient gas to generate electricity.

However, THISDAY gathered that Chevron and Shell, which are also major shareholders in the project, are not part of the plans to extend the pipeline.

A Shell official who spoke on condition of anonymity, told THISDAY at the weekend that extending the pipeline was not a priority of the company as “project economics would not justify such investment in the face of the prevailing gas supply challenges in Nigeria

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