The Federal Government has directed the contractor handling the Ajaokuta Kaduna Kano (AKK) Natural Gas Pipeline Project to ensure completion and deliver the project on time.
Mr Ekperikpe Ekpo, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), gave the charge on Thursday while inspecting the AKK project sites in PAI community, situated between Gwagwalada and Kwali Area Councils of Abuja.
Ekpo inspected the progress of Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) of the PAI River Crossing being executed by Oilserv Limited, one of the three major River Crossing works which advanced in stages and was approaching the final stage of completion.
The AKK pipeline is a 614km-long natural gas pipeline being developed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) to run from Ajaokuta, through Abuja-Kaduna to Kano.
Ekpo was accompanied in the visit by Mr Farouk Ahmed, Authority Chief Executive, Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, top officials of the NNPC Ltd and the project contractor, Oilserv Limited, Pipelines and Facilities (EPCIC), among others.
The Minister said with more than 200 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) of proven gas reserves and unproven reserves amounting to 600 TCF in the deep sea and other areas in the country the AKK project was critical to be delivered on schedule.
“So far; I am impressed with what has been done, and the contractor has assured me that by July and August 2024 the project will be completed.
“And when completed, many ailing industries will come to limelight, there will be efficient power supply, availability of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for vehicles, and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking, eradicating biomass (charcoal) while industries would equally come up.
“Today the global world is talking about gas and we have it in abundance, the reserve is enough to take us for next hundred years and service other nations. Nigeria should actually be the hub of gas resources.
“The prosperity of Nigeria depends on this very project. When completed, power plants in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano will be put into use guaranteeing energy security in the long term with a boost in investment.
“So we hold the contractor responsible for any slow rate of development. You are given the job on trust and there are bound to be challenges. The way you have been surmounting challenges in other locations, apply it here, we will support you to complete it on schedule,” Ekpo said.
While appreciating NNPC Ltd and management for its efforts, Ekpo assured Nigerians to be patient with President Bola Tinubu, adding that the government was doing everything possible to mitigate hardship.
The Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd, Malam Mele Kyari, reiterated its commitment towards the delivery of strategic national infrastructure projects through responsive project delivery, active collaboration with security agencies and communities.
Kyari, represented by Mr Olalekan Ogunleye, Executive Vice President, Gas, Power and New Energy, NNPC Ltd, said it was focused on technology deployment in form of Human and Technical Intelligence for surveillance along the entire Right of Way to realise timely delivery of the project for the benefit of Nigerians.
He described the project as a major economic trigger of the nation assuring that the NNPC Ltd would continue to take right steps to ensure that facilities and resources required were deployed for its realisation.
Also speaking, Oilserv Chairman, Mr Emeka Okwuosa, gave assurance that the project would be completed between July and August 2024.
He said the site visited was peculiar because of its river crossing, adding that it would also deploy Direct Pipe Installation Technology to cross River Niger.
Okwuosa said the company was working hard to mitigate challenges to enable it to deliver the project.
He listed the challenges as river crossing, rock blasting, drilling and security, stressing that it would continue to work closely with the NNPC Ltd to ensure timely delivery of the project.
“We are also working with the NNPC Ltd to see how we can do night operations here to hasten the project by doubling the speed but we are only limited with day time operations.
“Some pipes are existing in the right of way, for example crude oil lines to Kaduna refinery so we are careful not to damage anything. We are optimistic that by next year the linear section that will deliver gas will be done with,” he said.
The 2.5 billion dollars AKK Gas Pipeline and Stations Project is a flagship of the Phase -1 Trans Nigeria Gas Pipeline (TNGP) project.
It is designed to integrate the northern part of Nigeria with the Niger Delta, eastern and western regions of the country.