President Muhammadu Buhari has given his commitment to ensure timely delivery of the landmark Ajakuota-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project just as Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), says the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project will inject 2.2 billion standard cubic feet per day of gas to the domestic market. Malam Mele Kyari, NNPC Group Managing Director said this at the ground breaking ceremony of the project on Tuesday in Ajaokuta. “Upon completion, the project will enable the injection of 2.2bscf per day of gas into the domestic market and facilitate additional power generation capacity of 3,600MW. The realisation of this project will therefore, bring about the needed transformation in power generation and industrial growth in the Country,” he said. Buhari on his part said the project would be completed within budgetary allocation and specifications in 24 months.
Speaking at the virtual flag-off ceremony of the project at the Ajaokuta, Kogi and Rigachikun, Kaduna State camp sites simultaneously, Buhari said the project was very dear to the people of Nigeria and must succeed. He, therefore, directed the NNPC and partners to remain focused, noting that the AKK project was part of the delivery of the present administration’s Next Level Agenda for sustainable development, enhancement of economic prosperity and increase of the country’s infrastructure assets. Governors Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna physically flagged off the commencement of works at Ajaokuta and Rigachikun sites, while the President watched remotely via video-conference from the Council Chamber in Abuja.
The NNPC boss commended the support of President Muhammadu Buhari on the project, adding that the event would not have been possible without his full and unflinching support. “The current administration under the leadership of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari has made it a priority to ensure revenues from oil and gas resources are utilised to support the emergence and growth of other non-oil sectors of the economy,” he said. The GMD said that NNPC was transitioning toward becoming an Integrated Energy Company to support the President’s economic diversification efforts. According to him, one of such efforts is the expansion of the corporation’s domestic gas footprint. He said this was with the delivery of the Trans-Nigeria Pipeline Project which include the Escravos to Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) 2, the Obiafu,-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) gas pipeline and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline.
“Construction of these critical enablers is in line with NNPC’s responsibility of implementing the National Gas Infrastructure Blueprint which is part of the Nigerian Gas Master Plan. The master plan is meant to leverage on the nation’s huge natural gas reserve base to stimulate unprecedented economic growth and enable Nigeria’s migration from the current mono-economy into a diversified economy. The AKK gas pipeline project, which is part of the Trans-Nigeria gas pipeline project, involves the establishment of a connecting gas pipeline network that will integrate the Northern region of the country with the Niger Delta, Eastern and Western regions,” he said. Kyari further said that all the required conditions precedent for closing the debt financing had been provided and the process of obtaining internal approvals by the Lenders was in progress to enable financing close by August. He said that as part of the agreement, NNPC would utilise the equity contribution to commence execution of the project to recover lost time and put the project back on track.
“We are confident that the EPC contractors will deliver the project on time, within budget and to quality,” the GMD said.
Earlier, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, said that the project was a good move for economic growth of the nation. Bello said that it would go a long way to solve energy challenge in country.
” I commend the President for this project and we look forward to the completion in the near future,” he said. Also speaking, Sen. Bassey Akpan, Chairman Senate committee on petroleum Upstream said the AKK gas pipeline project remained key to economic growth of the nation.
Akpan said that the financing pattern of the project made it possible to come up immediately. I have confident in the effort of the NNPC and all partners. I am sure that the project will be delivered at the time frame. Nigerians and the economy will be happy at the end of the day, this project is already projecting indigenous effort with oilserve as key player. “it will create a lot of employment and development,” he said.
President Buhari said: ‘‘we promised the Nation that we will expand the critical gas infrastructure in the country to promote the use of gas in the domestic market. These include the Escravos to Lagos Pipeline System – 2 (ELPS-2), Obiafu to Obrikom (OB3) pipeline and AKK. These projects are fundamental to our desire to industrialize and energize the entrepreneurial spirit that is ever present in our population.’’ While enumerating the benefits of the project, billed to be completed in two years, the president said it would provide gas for generation of power and for gas-based industries which would facilitate the development of new industries. He also expressed optimism that the project, when completed would ensure the revival of moribund industries along transit towns in Kogi, Abuja (FCT), Niger, Kaduna and Kano States.
According to him, the cascading effect and impact of the AKK, when operational, will be immeasurable. ‘‘It has significant job creation potential both direct and indirect, while fostering the development and utilization of local skills and manpower, technology transfer and promotion of local manufacturing,’’ he said. President Buhari announced that Nigeria had learnt invaluable lessons from the global COVID-19 pandemic and some oil rich countries that have used their crude as a pathway to economic and industrial diversification. On COVID-19, the President said the pandemic had further underscored the drive of his administration for export substitution initiatives and projects that promote local manufacturing. On diversification, the President said: ‘‘Gulf countries that have similar levels of gas reserves as Nigeria, have a strategy centered around gas-industrialization as their foundation towards export diversification. “This has to be our guiding principle as we seek to attract investment and create opportunities for our people.’’
The President also used the occasion to challenge the private sector to lead the charge in maximising the nation’s gas resources.
According to him, the private sector can create a petrochemical hub that will resurrect the manufacturing industry and put the nation on the path to increased self-sufficiency. ‘‘As the world evolves, we owe our people the responsibility to prepare them for what the future holds. We, therefore, must be bold and fearless and can no longer be incremental in our approach. Time is short, and our people’s zeal is strong and palpable. Infrastructure development although long, tedious and complex remains a cardinal objective of our Administration’s drive towards ensuring a stable, sustainable and more prosperous future for our citizenry. Today marks an important chapter in the history of our great Nation. It marks the day when our domestic natural gas pipeline networks; from Obiafu in Rivers State, Escravos in Delta State and Lekki in Lagos State, are being connected through Kaduna to Kano States thereby enhancing national energy security, creating balanced development, and further integrating our nation,’’ he said. The President commended the Government of the People’s Republic of China; the financiers the Bank of China and SINOSURE; and the two EPC Contractors (Brentex/China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau-CPP Consortia and Oilserve/China First Highway Engineering Company-CFHEC Consortia) for their support to deliver the important project. He also congratulated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPC and all relevant stakeholders on the historic and epoch-making occasion, commending the resilience of the team to deliver on the project despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The President appealed to Governors of Kogi, Niger, Kaduna and Kano States as well as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to provide the enabling environment and support for the project.