President Muhammadu Buhari, in company of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and his Kaduna counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai, as well as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, yesterday inaugurated the 614-kilometre Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline to tackle Nigeria’s critical economic problems.
During the virtual ceremony in Abuja, Buhari pointed out that the $2.8 billion (about N1.1 trillion) project, to be financed by a Chinese loan, would boost the nation’s energy capacity by nearly 4000 megawatts and generate over three million jobs.
He added that the undertaking would upscale domestic gas utilisation, uplift the textile industry, as well as address agricultural hiccups through the fertiliser and petrochemical sub-sector.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had said the country’s gas reserves as at January 1, 2020, were 203.16 trillion cubic feet (TCF).
Being a component of the Trans-Nigeria Gas Pipeline (TNGP), with capacity to transport about 2.2 billion cubic feet of the product daily, the President charged the Kogi, Kaduna and FCT administrations to ensure the project was delivered within its two-year timeline.
His words: “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-Lagos Pipeline System – 2 (ELPS-2); Obiafu– Obrikom (OB3) pipeline; and the AKK.
“These projects are fundamental to our desire to industrialise and energise the entrepreneurial spirit that is ever-present in our population.”
In his remarks, Sylva said the move would open up industrial activities in the northern corridor, adding: “We expect that in this corridor, a lot of investments will commence like fertiliser projects, gas industry, petrochemical, power plants and others.”
“On the part of this project, power plants will be built in Abuja and Kano,” he stated.
Also speaking, Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Mele Kyari, clarified that the project, to be constructed by two groups, Brentex/China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau-CPP Consortia; and Oilserve/China First Highway Engineering Company-CFHEC Consortia; would connect the northern region with others.
“NNPC is thus transitioning towards becoming an integrated energy company to support Mr. President’s economic diversification efforts,” the GMD submitted.