By Adedapo Adesanya
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the delay in the commencement of the Trans-Saharan Natural Gas Pipeline project 20 years after it was conceived.
The resolution was a sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Mr Ahmed Munir at the plenary on Wednesday.
Moving the motion, Mr Munir said that on January 14, 2002, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and the Algerian National Oil and Gas Company (Sonatrach) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a $12 billion pipeline project.
He revealed that the plan was to construct 4,128 kilometres of natural gas pipelines with a projected annual capacity of 30 billion cubic meters that will extend gas supply to Europe.
According to him, in June 2005, the NNPC and Sonatrach also signed a contract with Penspen Limited for a feasibility study of the project, which was completed in September 2006.
The lawmaker said that the pipeline was discovered to be technically and economically feasible and reliable which, in turn, led to the inter-governmental agreement on the pipeline signed by the Energy Ministers of Nigeria, Niger, and Algeria on July 3, 2009, in Abuja.
“In 2013, the federal government approved a budget of $400 million for commencement of the project originally scheduled to be operational by 2020 with no commensurate progress made to date.
“Cognisant that a new Gas Master Plan (GMP) needs to be crafted due to the current geopolitical realities such as; the newly completed 20,000 barrel per day Zinder Refinery in the Niger Republic, new Niger-Benin Republic Pipeline due for completion in 2023, and the discovery and exploitation of hydrocarbons in commercial quantity in the Lake Chad Region of Chad Republic.
“Also the prospects of oil and gas on the Nigerian side of Lake Chad, the discovery of hydrocarbons in Bauchi, a spike in the cost of hydrocarbon, security situation along the right of way across the Sahel, as well as the Russia-Ukraine conflict leading to Western Nations looking for alternative options to meet energy demands.
“The successful completion of this vital project will create jobs, spur economic growth, and enhance energy and regional security,” he said.
In the resolution, the lower chamber of the National Assembly urged NNPC to provide information regarding the implementation, funding, utilisation, and status of the project, also asking the firm to review the National Gas Master Plan relating to the project to conform to the variables of today’s global economy.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr Idris Wase, mandated the Committee on Gas Resources to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.