President Muhammadu Buhari will be making history as he flags off the construction of the $2.8 billion 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) natural gas pipeline, the single biggest gas pipeline project in Nigeria’s history, by Tuesday June 30, 2020, in Ajaokuta (Kogi State) and Rigachikun (Kaduna State).
Presidential Flag-off of the Construction Phase of the #AKK Gas Pipeline Project Holds Tuesday, 30th June 2020 in Ajaokuta (Kogi St) & Rigachikun (Kaduna St). The project will boost domestic gas consumption, power generation & industrialisation. @MBuhari @FemAdesina @BashirAhmaad pic.twitter.com/3LZou37EdK
— NNPC Group (@NNPCgroup) June 27, 2020
The project, which is taking off after months of discussions in and out of the country, will boost domestic gas consumption, power generation, and industrialization.
The AKK pipeline project, which will carry gas between the southern and northern parts of the country, will eventually extend to North Africa.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) initially announced tenders for this project in July 2013. A project proposal was submitted to the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) in June 2017, and the Federal Executive Council subsequently granted approval in December 2017.
The 614 kilometers-long natural gas pipeline is Phase One of the Trans-Nigeria Gas Pipeline (TNGP) project, to be done on a build-and-transfer Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis. It will transport 3,500 million metric standard cubic feet per day of dehydrated gas from several gas gathering projects located in southern Nigeria.
The project will be in three phases:
- The first phase is 200 kilometers long and is between Ajaokuta and Abuja, at a projected cost of $855 million.
- The second phase is 193 kilometers long, between Abuja and Kaduna. It is estimated to cost $835 million.
- The third phase is 221 kilometers-long, between Kaduna and Kano, at a projected cost of $1.2 billion.
It will eventually reach North Africa in subsequent phases.
The AKK gas pipeline project will create steady and guaranteed gas supply network between the Northern and Southern part of Nigeria, and enhance power generation capacity. The industrial sector will be strengthened, local usage of gas will be promoted and increased, and the country’s revenue generation boosted through export of natural gas.
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Nigeria, currently ranked the 7th most endowed natural gas country in the world, sits on about 180 trillion cubic feet of natural gas deposits, which can be utilized as gas to power, gas to petrochemicals, liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and compressed natural gas (CNG), among others.
Over the years, Nigeria has exploited its oil resources more, to the detriment of gas, which incidentally fetches more revenue although more expensive to prospect.
One big advantage the average Nigerian can look forward to is the evolution of compressed natural gas (CNG), which is still at pilot stage in the country.
FG to extend fuel subsidy for 6 months
Reports indicate that the FG plans to spend N720 billion for the next 6 months on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidies.
The Nigerian Government may have suspended plans to end its subsidy payments as reports indicate that the FG plans to spend N720 billion for the next 6 months on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidies.
This was disclosed in an exclusive report by The Guardian on Sunday, citing that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered that the subsidies remain in place for the next 6 months.
“Specifically, President Buhari has asked the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to suspend any idea on subsidy removal for five to six months so that a plan that does not harm ordinary Nigerians is evolved if the deregulation must go on,” a Government official said.
What you should know
- NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari disclosed last month that the “NNPC may no longer be in a position to carry that burden because we cannot continue to carry it in our books,” after reports of fuel imports under-recovery revealed the FG was spending N120 billion a month on subsidy.
- Kyari also hinted that they may soon start selling PMS at market prices saying: “NNPC importing PMS at market price and selling at N162/L. The actual market price should be between N211 and N234/L. Meaning is that consumers are not paying the market price.
- “NNPC is currently the sole importer of PMS, and we’re trying to exit the underpriced sale of PMS. Eventual exit is inevitable, when it will happen I cannot say, but engagements are ongoing because the government is cognisant of the implications.”
Why NNPC’s Borno power plant may not materialise
The glaring security challenge cannot be overlooked in considering a major power plant project in Borno State.
Only a few days ago, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, led a delegation to Borno State to meet with the Governor of the State, Babagana Zulum.
In the conversation with Zulum, Kyari promised the establishment of a gas-fired power plant in Borno State within a maximum of 4 months to solve the recent blackouts that resulted from insurgents cutting off Borno from the national grid since January this year.
In Kyari’s words, “We have talked to each other and we think it’s very possible to establish a dedicated power plant in Maiduguri which will serve current needs of power supply not only in Maiduguri but to other parts of the neighbouring cities.”
Yet, there is a significant possibility that the power plant promised by Kyari may not materialize for many reasons, the first of which is security. In the meeting with Kyari, Governor Zulum had noted: “The ongoing insurgency has cut off the entire Borno from the national grid in the last three months. We put all our efforts and restored it back… but unfortunately, after 48 hours, the same group of insurgents went back and destroyed the main tower again.”
This glaring security challenge cannot be overlooked in considering a major power plant project in Borno State, particularly noting that the State and its surrounding communities have been the hot zone of insurgent and terrorist attacks by Boko Haram insurgents since 2009. Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have particularly been states where the insurgents have set up shop and carried out various activities, including kidnap, extermination of entire communities, burning of markets and religious buildings and the attack on the United Nations compound, in each case claiming tens or hundreds of innocent lives.
One report reveals that at least 37, 500 people have been killed by the insurgent group since May 2011, a modest number, some say. Also, till date, some of the secondary school girls kidnapped in the April 2014 Chibok incident are yet to be returned to their families. It is then bewildering how Kyari intends to see to the construction and operationalizing of this gas power plant.
Additionally, while the Minister of Petroleum for State, Chief Timipre Sylva, announced last year about the discovery of oil and gas deposits in the North, we have not seen any exploration and production kick-off. It then begs the question of where the gas for the Borno power plant intends to be sourced. The only gas pipeline that runs through the North – the AKK- is still in its first phase of construction out of three phases and has been earmarked at the earliest, to be completed in 2023 – not counting the typical delays the project will experience along the way.
Should the AKK by some stroke of luck materialize much earlier than the target date, the pipeline route is a considerable distance from Borno. It runs the route of Ajaokuta-Abuja-Katsina-Kano, its endpoint, a striking 481km from Borno State. Thus, there would have to be construction of a tie-in pipeline almost as long as the AKK from Kano to Borno State to get gas to Borno.
Optimists may reference the oil and gas discovery in the North and how production may start soon, thus obliterating the need for a 481km pipeline. This optimism however is not well-founded, as insecurity has been shown to be a major risk to oil and gas projects everywhere in the world. One of the major reasons the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline proposed to run from Nigeria to Algeria was abandoned was due to security challenges posed by Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Tuareg guerilla movement in Niger and other insurgent groups along the proposed route of the pipeline.
These increased the risks across board, including for completion and operations through the lifecycle of the project. As such, failing to fix the security threats in northeast Nigeria makes any proposed gas plant project a pipe dream. Transporting gas via LNG trucks is not a better option, given that the drivers and their cargoes would be in danger of being kidnapped, shot at or bombed. The risks for both personnel and investors are high.
In any event, promising a power plant in 4 months for the people of Borno is unconscionable, since a typical gas power plant will take between 1 to 6 years to construct in relatively peaceful regions. What the government needs to do instead of making promises it cannot keep is to work arduously to fix the security challenges in Northern Nigeria and at the same time consider using decentralised solar power to provide power supply to homes, government institutions, schools and businesses while plans to produce gas in the region or transport gas to it are underway.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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