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NNPC Targets August Completion For Delayed $700m OB3 Gas Pipeline Project

NNPC GCEO Mele Kyari has confirmed the OB3 Gas Pipeline project’s completion in August, unlocking two billion SCF of gas daily.

The federal government at the weekend said it was ramping up gas supply to boost the country’s industrialisation and economic growth with the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) Gas Pipeline project set for delivery in August.

The 48-inch, 127-kilometre OB3 gas pipeline, being built by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and estimated to cost $700 million when work commenced on it in 2016, had long been delayed.

Equally known as the East-West Pipeline, the pipeline connects the Obiafu-Obrikom gas plant, near Omuku, in Rivers State, to Oben, Edo State, and is expected to transport two billion Standard Cubic Feet (SCF) of gas per day.

Speaking during an inspection of the project, along with other top government officials, around the pipeline’s River Niger Crossing operation at Aboh, Delta State, Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari, confirmed that the project will be delivered weeks from now.

By design, the OB3 Gas pipeline was the inter-connector, which linked the Eastern gas pipeline network to the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) in the West, and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Pipeline in the North, a statement from the Corporate Communications Officer of NNPC, Olufemi Soneye, said.

The statement explained that the River Niger Crossing operation had been the major impediment to the completion of the strategic gas pipeline for over three years.

It said this was due to failure of the various technologies deployed to achieve the construction of the 48-inch pipe under the river bed between Ndoni in Rivers State and Aboh in Delta State.

But with the adoption of the micro-tunnelling/direct pipe installation technology, the new contractors, Messrs HDD Thailand/Enikkom and Tunnel Services Group (TSG), were making a headway with about 860 metres out of the 1,800 metres achieved so far, the statement said.

Speaking after the inspection tour, Kyari expressed delight at the breakthrough, which signalled the imminent completion of the project.

He said, “This is a major project of monumental value to our country. What this means is that this is the only way we can deliver the gas revolution. I am very happy and convinced that latest by the middle of August, we will complete this project. I have been assured of that by the project team.”

On the significance of the project, Kyari said, “Once completed, we will see about 2.2 billion standard cubic feet of gas coming into our network. We believe that this will give our country a breathing space of demand.

“I am sure we can catch up with that kind of demand in the next one and a half years. We are happy that this will give us the platform to unleash the gas revolution in our country.”

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, expressed satisfaction with the pace of work at the OB3 River Niger Crossing operation, describing it as “Renewed Hope at work”.

Ekpo stated, “I was here last year and I saw the work that was going on. There was a promise that it would be completed by December last year. I took it with a doubt. But today, from what I can see, I am confident that by July or August it will be completed and it will be commissioned by the president.”

Special Adviser to  President Bola Tinubu on Energy, Olu Verheijen, said she was looking forward to the completion of the project, having been assured by the technical team that the right technology had been found to resolve the complex challenges of the River Niger Crossing.

“As the minister and other speakers have said, we are looking forward to having this project deliver prosperity to Nigerians in the form of electricity and other areas,” Verheijen said.

Managing Director of TSG, one of the contractors handling the project, Mr. Ingo Justen, who was personally on ground to supervise the project on the request of the GCEO, expressed confidence that the current technology being deployed in the execution of the project would lead to its speedy conclusion.

In a presentation, Managing Director of NNPC Gas Infrastructure Company (NGIC),  Seyi Omotowa, disclosed that at the rate of progress with the new technology, the River Niger Crossing operation, which was the only aspect of the OB3 Gas Pipeline Project left, will be achieved on schedule.

Emmanuel Addeh and Peter Uzoho

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