Nigeria Holding ChevronTexaco to Pipeline Completion Date

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said he would hold ChevronTexaco and its partners to a promised 2005 completion date of the West Africa gas pipeline. Obasanjo told visiting ChevronTexaco Chairman Peter J. Robertson that he wanted accelerated work on the $500 million project to pipe Nigerian gas to the neighboring states of Benin, Ghana and Togo.

Officials of ChevronTexaco which leads the project's Commercial Group that includes Shell Petroleum Development Co of Nigeria say they expect first gas from the investment by 2005. But they say the consortium is still some 20 months away from making the final investment decision. "We must not go beyond that (2005) completion date," Obasanjo told Robertson, according to an official statement on their talks in the capital Abuja. He said the project would bring immense economic benefit to the West African sub-region. The United States last year pledged a cash grant of $1.55 million toward the project and Ghana's Volta River Authority last month signed preliminary accords on gas purchases in a major boost to the investment.

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