The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) has agreed to move some of its pipelines to pave way for the dredging of the Escravos channel.
While receiving Hadiza Usman, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Group Managing Director of the state run oil company, Mikanti Baru, however, said it will take 12 months to move some of the pipelines.
“Because of the sheer number of the pipelines and the criticality of some of the petroleum products they carry, we are looking at the timelines; that would span 12 months to relocate some of the pipelines. In some of the critical areas, we have agreed that because of supply situations, they would do an initial dredging that would give us at least 10 meters, especially in the Escravos areas,” Baru said.
The Federal Executive Council, approved N13 billion for the dredging and reconstruction of navigation aids at the Warri Escravos seaport, at the value of N13 billion during its 11th April meeting.
While seeking inter-agency corporation for the success of the project, Usman said the pipelines in the must be relocated and buried deeper to enable the dredging which will enable larger petroleum vessels to dock in Nigeria take place: “We are here to strengthen synergy and collaboration between NPA and NNPC. We are about embarking on dredging activities at Escravos and Ejigbo and there are a lot of pipelines that are buried within that location and so we want to work with NNPC on relocating and burying those pipelines deeper so that NPA can dredge and have a deeper draft for bigger vessels to come to Warri and Lagos to enhance the supply of petroleum products and other larger vessels coming into the country.”
Baru also used the occasion to seek for cooperation on NPA in discharge of petroleum products at the ports.
The NNPC GMD solicited for creation of a one-stop-shop, where all agencies dealing with the clearance of petroleum products can execute their duties in less time, as he argued that delays faced being faced by importers at present increases the demurrage paid on the products.
Nigeria’s waters are the most shallow in West Africa, at a depth of 13 meters.
This makes it mandatory for large vessels coming into Nigeria to dock in neighboring West African ports and use smaller badges to bring products into the country.
The latest survey by the Abidjan Lagos Corridor Organisation (ALCO), revealed that Apapa port- the most used in Nigeria, has a clearance time of 22 days. This, it says, make the port the least efficient in West Africa.
Dredging of the Warri Escravos seaport and the construction of the Lekki deep seaport, is expected to solve these inefficiencies.