|WAPCo positions WAGP to meet changes in sub-regional energy markets|
The West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo), operator of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) is undertaking a number of activities in response to developments in the energy sectors in the countries in which it operates. WAGP is now available to entities interested in shipping gas from Nigeria to Benin, Ghana and Togo. In conjunction with the Volta River Authority, WAPCo’s facility at Tema is being expanded to deliver higher gas volumes and the company is in discussions with the Ghana Gas Company to establish an interconnection at Aboadze, in the Western Region.
WAPCo began commercial operations in March 2011 and a number of developments since then, have required the company to undertake measures to adapt to changing market dynamics. These developments include continued rapid growth in demand for power, the discovery of oil and gas in Ghana, and the emergence of independent production companies in Nigeria.
The first major change WAPCo undertook was in July 2012, when WAGP was declared an “open access” system to allow multiple shippers to use the pipeline to transport gas to any of the three gas importing countries. Any suitably qualified entity can now apply to become a shipper with a view to entering into gas transportation contracts with WAPCo. WAPCo has recently qualified two new shippers and is working with them to develop agreements for gas transportation.
WAPCo is currently undertaking various projects aimed at increasing the volumes of natural gas transported to consuming countries. The company is working with the Volta River Authority on an upgrade of the Tema gas metering station so that it can receive higher volumes of gas in Tema, Ghana. The company is also implementing facility improvements to accommodate an additional consumer in Lome, Togo. In addition, the company is in discussions with the Ghana Gas Company and other stakeholders, to establish a connection at Takoradi (Aboadze) between the WAGP and the Ghana Gas system. This connection, when undertaken will allow gas from offshore Ghana to flow from Western Ghana to Tema for use in power generation.
Pipeline Maintenance & Protection
While engaging in all these activities WAPCo continues to maintain its strong focus on the security of the pipeline. The company currently has agreements with the Navy of the four WAGP States to undertake regular patrols along the offshore segment of the pipeline to enforce the “no anchoring” zone around the pipeline. The Navy also provides electronic surveillance of the pipeline through the use of the Vessel Traffic Monitoring System (VTMS). There are regular and frequent engagements with the fishing and maritime community to sensitise them on the presence of the pipeline in the waters. The company hosted a major conference in Accra during May 2014 where leading figures from industry, governments, armed forces and regulatory bodies from across the WAGP States met to share best practices and to develop plans to work together to reduce the risk of pipeline damage. WAPCo also maintains a comprehensive Right of Way (RoW) management programme for the protection of its onshore segments of the pipeline. This includes awareness programmes for the communities along the pipeline RoW.
WAPCo is committed to ensuring a secure infrastructure that is responsive to the changing energy needs of the WAGP States; Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo.