By Adedapo Adesanya
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday flag off the construction of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline, which is set to become the nation’s biggest domestic gas transmission infrastructure.
The 614 kilometre gas pipeline conceived to provide the highly desired stimulus to domestic industrial growth will be delivered by a consortium of indigenous and international engineering firms. This project will also signal the finest hour so far for the Nigerian Content Policy goals.
The President, by the flag-off of this project at Ajaokuta, Kogi State, would be turning to reality some of the nation’s long-term economic aspirations of boosting domestic energy infrastructure, deepening the local gas market, creating industrial corridors with cleaner fuel, and commercialising the country’s abundant gas resources.
The project, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), will significantly curb gas flaring in the Niger Delta and guarantee better air quality in the oil-producing region.
Furthermore, the pipeline, which was conceived to connect demand from the northern part of the country with supply from the south, would be the biggest infrastructure development in the country’s recent history.
It will also mark a significant shift in the nation’s energy policy; from revenue targeted export programmes to development-focused domestic supply programmes.
Significantly, the $2.8 billion project will breakthrough on the June 30 after seven years of rigorous processes that morphed from policy conception through implementation strategy designs, master-plans and solid implementation programmes.
The biggest value to the economy is the participation of indigenous engineering firms led by pipeline giant, Oilserv Limited, in the delivery of some of the phases of the project.
The company has successfully delivered over 17 similar challenging projects in the country including the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the 67 kilometres Obiafu/Obrikom to Oben (OB3) 48-inch diameter Gas Transmission Pipeline System. The Oilserv consortium is slated to deliver the first 200-kilometre phase of the AKK pipeline which covers the section between Ajaokuta and Abuja, after securing the EPC contract in April 2018.
According to the Presidency, “the AKK pipeline project is itself a section of an ambitious pipeline project to supply gas to Europe through the proposed Trans Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP) and Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipelines.”
Thus, in the short term the AKK will ensure energy sufficiency for domestic commerce and industry, and in the long term, having deepened and satisfied domestic demand, morph into an export pipeline and economic mainstay.
The AKK pipeline, in Nigeria’s prevailing socioeconomic downturn, will prove to be fortuitous as well as strategic even as the world steps away from fossil fuel.
Beyond the immediate need to stem the devastation of the corona pandemic and stimulate activity in the domestic economy, the AKK, which is already potentially poised as a very central economic powerhouse in Nigeria, will also create deeper, more enduring values.
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