The West African Gas Pipeline Project Gets Green Light

ChevronTexaco announced that the shareholders of West African Gas Pipeline Co. Ltd. (WAPCo) have agreed to move forward with the construction and implementation of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project.

A detailed final project design will be developed by WAPCo in collaboration with contractors prior to pipeline construction, which is expected to take two years. Start-up is expected in December 2006.

The estimated $590 million project will transport natural gas 420 miles (678 kilometers) from Nigeria to customers in Benin, Ghana and Togo and will be built, owned and operated by West African Gas Pipeline Co. Ltd.

ChevronTexaco's affiliate company, ChevronTexaco West African Gas Pipeline Co. Ltd., is the project's managing sponsor.

Commenting on the importance of the milestone, Engr. Funso Kupolokun, chairman of the WAPCo board and the group managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., said, "The West African Gas Pipeline project demonstrates what can be achieved through cooperation and partnership amongst neighboring countries on the one hand, and private sector on the other. It is also a practical demonstration of the spirit of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), to which our four countries subscribe."

Echoing Kupolokun's comments, George Kirkland, president of ChevronTexaco Overseas Petroleum, said, "The West African Gas Pipeline project has long been a key component of our strategy to reduce flaring and to commercialize natural gas resources in Africa. Additionally, the implementation of WAGP will lead to a regional natural gas grid that will supply clean and lower cost energy to growing markets, encouraging the economic integration of the region.

"This has been a long journey for all of the project shareholders, and I am deeply appreciative of the tremendous amount of effort to get us to this point," Kirkland added. "Equally, I would like to acknowledge the strong commitment from each of the member countries for their support and for their vision to see the far-reaching economic benefits that a project such as this will bring to the region."

The project dates back to 1995 when the governments of Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo entered into a Heads of Agreement, under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), for the joint development of the pipeline project. The project is being driven by the shared vision of the four states and WAPCo to make available a clean, abundant, stable and cost-effective natural gas supply from Nigeria as fuel for power generation and industrial development in Ghana, Togo and Benin. The pipeline is expected to have a maximum capacity of 470 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.

The pipeline project is expected to contribute toward the regional economic integration objectives of ECOWAS and establish a reliable energy infrastructure to attract further investments into the region.

Shareholders of WAPCo include: ChevronTexaco West African Gas Pipeline Co. Ltd. (38.2 percent); Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (26 percent); Shell Overseas Holdings Ltd. (18.8 percent); and Takoradi Power Co. Ltd. (17 percent).