On Thursday, September 28, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri and the Minister of State for Gas, Ekperikpe Ekpo, as well as Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer at the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and the Chief Executive of the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Engr. Farouk Ahmed visited the construction site of the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) gas pipeline project.
According to a tweet shared by the NNPCL, the Ministers expressed confidence in the project’s progress, assuring that everything possible will be done to ensure that the deadline for its completion remains sacrosanct.
Note that the OB3 project has been under construction for years and has missed several deadlines.
However, during the visit, the Gas Minister, Ekpo appealed to the contractors that they must work to meet the December 2023 deadline. He said:
- “Nigerians are waiting for this project. Mr. President is passionate about gasifying Nigeria, and this is also my mission as a minister. The withdrawal of fuel subsidies has been causing problems in the country, but if we get this project right the pressure will come down.
- “When that is done it will go a long way in easing doing business in Nigeria and forex will come into the country. So, I implore you all to be intentional, committed and passionate about this project completion deadline.”
- Recall that in June 2023, Mele Kyari assured the country that the project would soon be completed. At the time, Kyari said:
- “We know that the gas has reached this location, once we cross the river Niger the gas revolution in the domestic market of Nigeria would have been delivered. This is a critical project; we did have some technical issues, but I am confident that the team can deliver on this.”
The Obiafu/Obrikom/Oben (OB3) Project is one of the largest gas transmission pipelines in Nigeria and Africa at large (by pipe size). The project has an associated Gas Treatment Plant (GTP) that has the capacity to produce 2 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day (2bscf/d).
The OB3 gas pipeline runs from the Obiafu-Obrikom gas plant near Omuku, Rivers State, to Oben, Edo State. As of August 2018, it was said that rain and flooding had delayed the construction of the pipeline and that the new expected date of completion was Q2 of 2019.
Since then, other factors like the Covid-19 pandemic and general slowdown due to changes in contracting agreements, have been blamed for the inability of the project to come onstream for close to eight years.
In an August 2023 exclusive interview with TheTimes, Seplat Energy Chief Executive Officer, Roger Brown confirmed that the OB3 gas pipeline project is expected to feed the Assa North-Ohaji South, (ANOH) gas project, which is one of the largest green field gas condensate development projects, that will produce 600 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, an equivalent of approximately 2.4 gigawatts of electricity for the country.
The OB3 gas pipeline project involves the construction of a 127km, 48-inch gas pipeline with a capacity of 56.6m3 per day.
The project construction also includes the establishment of storage tanks, metering stations and related infrastructure, the installation of equipment, alongside the laying of pipelines.