NNPCL postpones $700m gas pipeline delivery to August

NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), has shifted the delivery date for the $700m Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben gas pipeline project (OB3), from March 2024 to August.

The company’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Olufemi Soneye revealed this in a statement over the weekend.

According to the statement, the Minister for Petroleum Resources for States Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, while speaking on the significance of the project during an inspection tour of the OB3 pipeline River Niger Crossing operation at Aboh, Delta State, on Saturday, said the project would now be completed and commissioned latest by August.

“I was here last year and I saw the work that was going on. There was a promise that it would be completed by December last year. I took it with a doubt. But today, from what I can see, I am confident that by July or August, it will be completed and it will be commissioned by the President,” the minister stated.

The shift in delivery date by the NNPCL was in contrast to what Ekpo said on February 28, 2024, at the 7th Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja, that the project would be completed in March this year.

The project was flagged off in 2016.

“I am highly elated to announce that going by the contractor estimates, the OB3 pipeline will be completed by March 2024 and the 42” 127km pipeline will supply 2BCF (two billion standard cubic feet) per day,” Ekpo had stated.

On the significance of the project, he said, “Once completed, we will see about 2.2 billion standard cubic feet of gas coming into our network. We believe that this will give our country a breathing space of demand, I am sure we can catch up with that kind of demand in the next one and a half years. We are happy that this will give us the platform to unleash the gas revolution in our country.”

The NNPCL said the River Niger Crossing operation has been the major impediment to the completion of the strategic OB3 Gas Pipeline for over three years, due to the failure of the various technologies deployed to achieve the construction of the 48-inch pipe under the river bed between Ndoni in Rivers State and Aboh in Delta State.

But with the adoption of the Micro-Tunnelling/Direct Pipe Installation technology, NNPCL said the new contractors, Messrs HDD Thailand/Enikkom and Tunnelling Services Group (TSG), are making headway with about 860meters out of the 1,800meters achieved so far.

While speaking earlier, Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyari, promised that the company was set to deliver the project, as one of the major steps towards boosting nationwide gas supply to drive industrialisation and economic growth.

Speaking after the inspection tour, Kyari expressed delight at the breakthrough, which signals the imminent completion of the project.

“This is a major project of monumental value to our country. What this means is that this is the only way we can deliver the gas revolution. I am very happy and convinced that, latest by the middle of August, we will complete this project. I have been assured of that by the project team”, Kyari stated.

By design, the OB3 Gas pipeline is the inter-connector which links the Eastern gas pipeline network to the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) in the West, and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Pipeline in the North.

On her part, the Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Olu Verheijen, said she was looking forward to the completion of the project having been assured by the technical team that the right technology has been found to resolve the complex challenges of the River Niger Crossing.

“As the Minister and other speakers have said, we are looking forward to having this project deliver prosperity to Nigerians in the form of electricity and other areas”, Verheijen said.

The Managing Director of Tunnel Service Group (TSG), one of the contractors to the project, Ingo Justen, who is personally on the ground to supervise the project on the request of the GCEO, expressed confidence that the current technology being applied in the execution of the project would lead to its speedy conclusion.

In a presentation earlier, the Managing Director of NNPC Gas Infrastructure Company (NGIC), Engr. Seyi Omotowa, disclosed that at the rate of progress with the new technology deployed, the River Niger Crossing operation, which is the only aspect of the OB3 Gas Pipeline Project left, will be achieved on schedule.