The $2.6bn Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project is being developed to boost activities in the midstream and upstream arms of the oil and gas industry, among others, the Group Chairman, Oilserv Limited, Emeka Okwuosa, has said.
Oilserv is the major contractor handling the multi-billion dollar project, as the company’s boss explained that the pipeline would significantly contribute in addressing Nigeria’s gas supply demands.
“When we talk about AKK, the pipeline is significant to the North and to the South. I want to make it clear that by building AKK, we are able to move gas and satisfy the midstream activities,” Okwuosa told journalists after inspecting the project in Abuja.
He added, “This also spurs the upstream activities that will happen in the South. There is still an arm of this project that is yet to be done. And that is QIT in Akwa Ibom State. QIT to Ajaokuta pipeline is what makes up the other half of the South to the North gas pipeline. AKK is one part of it and it is significant. But it is most significant to Nigeria.”
Okwuosa said Nigeria must develop its gas sector to create jobs for citizens and boost industrial development using Liquefied Natural Gas.
On the level of completion of the project, he said, “When you talk about one third completed, you are speaking to construction which is the mainline construction, but engineering is more than 80 per cent done, procurement is more than 50 per cent done. So overall it is more than one-third.”
He explained that the AKK project was made up of the pipeline, terminal gas stations, intermediate picking stations, as well as other sections.
Commenting on the challenges faced by the firm, Okwuosa said the challenges had brought opportunities.
“I say that as a background because challenges will always remain. A deep pipeline project is not a tea party,” he stated.
The Oilserv chairman added, “Pipeline involves a lot of planning, a lot of key and core engineering design, but most importantly, what they call putting the boots on the ground.
“Putting boots on the ground means bringing these pipes and going through every meter of the 614km, of which we are building 303km of 40 inches and another 25km of 24 inches.
“But what I can say is that those challenges specifically range from security along the tough terrain, weather and other natural factors that are beyond us.”
He admitted that a project of the magnitude of AKK required a lot of money and commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited for financing the construction of the pipeline.
“Funding is needed but the NNPC is up to the task, they’ve been able to mitigate some of the issues that arose originally. So challenges will be there. But the most difficult remains the security challenges,” Okwuosa stated.
The Managing Director, Oilserv, Chigozie Obi, said the company had deployed Horizontal Directional Drilling to enable the pipes go deep in order to truncate the activities of vandals.
He said the firm was also laying fibre optic cables that could allow communication to know what was happening along the line.