The West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo), is to retire Ghana’s $160 million debt before the year runs out. Speaking at the 17th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the West Africa Gas Pipeline (WAGP) Project in Abuja yesterday, Walter Perez, Managing Director of WAGPCo, said the country has began to make payments and it hopes to retire its long term debts in 2018:
“I am happy to report that additional payments are currently in process. However, more work is needed to retire the debt. To this end, we are encouraged by the assurances given by the ministry that the legacy debt will be fully retired in 2018.”
Perez also reported that WAGPCo who manages the West African Gas Pipeline Project, carried out a compressor upgrade that has helped to increase its gas supply to participating countries from 70 million standard cubic feet (SCUF), to 85 million SCUF. He said the imminent completion of critical gas projects in Nigeria, will help the company improve its gas supply needs.
“This upgrade has allowed us to be more consistent in delivering gas to our customers despite variations in pressure at Itoki (Lagos). With the imminent completion of critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria, it is our hope and prayer that the force majeure will be lifted.”
In corroboration of Perez’s hope, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum resources Ibe Kachikwu, said piece in the Niger Delta and the discovery of gas offshore Lagos, will improve gas supply by the pipeline. He said Nigeria will continue to use the WAGP project for the integration of the West African region:
“Nigeria will continue to play her part in seeing that we work together with the aspirations of the project to achieve a greater integration of the West African region.” The WAGP Project is being celebrated all over Africa today as the flagship project for the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). Therefore, this project should be sustained with our cooperation from all parties.”
WAGP has been threatened by an inability to meet its gas supply obligations to partner countries, Benin, Togo and Ghana. This is caused by pipeline vandalisation in the Niger Delta, where the pipeline begins. Since 2013, Shell and other oil firms have declared Force Majeure on gas supply to export terminals in the country. In times when WAGPCo have met obligatory volumes, its clientele are unable to fulfil their payment obligations. As well as beginning to pay its debts, Ghana has also diversified its gas supply source, by signing a deal with Russian firm Rosneft.