Ghana Says West African Gas Pipeline Project to Cost $1B

The government of Ghana has disclosed that the completion of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) would cost $1 billion instead of the $600 million earlier announced. The new cost was due to the apparent delay in the implementation of the project, which has resulted in the increase of the original cost by 70 percent.

A Deputy Minister of Energy, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, made this known at a seminar organized by the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo), in collaboration with the United States Aid for International Development (USAID) dubbed, "Off Shore Pipeline Protection," at the Novotel Hotel in Accra recently.

Buah noted that the continued postponement of the completion date of the project would create a negative situation for customers who had taken the risk of guaranteeing the project.

He urged both the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company and West Africa Gas Pipeline Authority (WAGPA) to assume their roles of technical and economic regulators of the pipeline, and also take steps to improve its management, while overseeing its speedy completion.

The Deputy Minister added, "It has become worrisome to hear of deliberate attempts by some groups, who, for some inexplicable reasons, use all sorts of means to sabotage gas transportation. These acts of vandalism pose a serious threat to the WAGPCo pipeline, which has not yet been gassed up."

According to Mr Kofi-Buah, land and underwater modes of transporting gas are the safest, with low rates of failure, accidents or losses, saying, "Except for on-going surveillance and maintenance requirements, no other safety issues requiring review or mitigation, have been noted for the onshore portion of the pipeline."

The Chief Executive Officer of WAGPA, Ernest Abahkroh, on his part, explained the major challenges facing offshore gas pipeline blustering and anchoring.

Abahkroh said WAGPA would intensify public education, especially along the coast.

He urged the maritime sector to intensify the education of fisherman, and also shipping agencies, to minimize their activities along the off shore gas pipeline.

BBC Monitoring. Copyright BBC.