12 August 1999

Benin: Gas Pipeline Agreement Signed In Cotonou

Cotonou, Benin (PANA) — A protocol agreement was signed Wednesday in Cotonou, Benin, for the financing of the West African Gas Pipeline Project designed to funnel Nigerian natural gas to Benin, Togo and Ghana.

The three beneficiary countries and two oil companies operating in Nigeria -- the Anglo-Dutch Shell and American Chevron -- agreed to meet the entire cost of the project estimated to cost several million US dollars.

The signing of the agreement was witnessed by Lansana Kouyate, the executive secretary of the Economic Community of West African States, and Clavin Humphrey, the US under-secretary for energy.

It provides for the construction about 1,000 km gas pipeline linking the four countries involved.

The project will help deliver "clean and cheap" energy to the people of Benin, Togo and Ghana, Felix Essou Dansou, Benin's minister of energy, mines and water, said. The project would help create 18,000 new jobs in Benin.

The project marks the "beginning of a new hope" for the political, social and economic integration of West African countries, Kouyate added.

Humphrey expressed the hope that the project would reduce pollution in the countries concerned and contribute in creating a conducive environment for investment.

The three beneficiary countries agreed to establish a West African Gas Company to handle transportation and management of the gas supply, expected to begin by 2002.

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