THE WEST African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) says it has begun repairs of its damaged pipelines that occasioned a load shedding exercise in the country over the past one month.
According to the Managing Director (MD) of WAPCo, Mr. Charles Adeniji, the company will at the latest complete and resume operations by December 25, 2012.
He explained that the repairs began on September 24, 2012, with a 10% chance of completion by the end of October, 50% chance by the end of November, and a 90% chance by the end of December.
However, it is "guaranteed that the company would commence operations before December 25, 2012," with the supply of gas to Ghana, Togo and Benin, he said.
Mr. Adeniji was addressing journalists at a media encounter organized by the company to update the media on its operations, in Accra, on Friday.
He recounted the incident that broke the company's pipes into two parts on August 28, 2012, when a vessel dragged anchor over the pipe line at the Lome T-junction.
He said a skirmish between the Togolese Navy and a third party vessel occurred at 0200hr on the said date, and the vessel dragged anchor across Anchoring Exclusion Zone.
As a result, pressure drop was observed in the control room at 0300hrs, occurring in all the stations with a significant drop at Lome, the Togolese capital.
Following this, the company shut-in the pipeline system to prevent further loss and impact to the marine environment, he stated.
He however pointed out that the incident did not affect marine life and the environment in Lome while there was no injury to any person, stressing "No impact on marine life, no impact to livelihood of the people, no sheen on the water surface."
Currently, divers have removed the damaged pipe joints, a construction barge has been hired, equipped with crane, welders, pipe and machines. Six pipe joints have been loaded on the barge.
The WAPCo MD said after the repairs, the company would re-commission the pipeline and remove water and debris in the line, dry the line and then introduce gas.
"After drying, the operating valves will be opened, gas will be introduced into the line, to commence gas transportation operations", he added.
Mr. Adeniji said the cost of repairs could only be quoted after the repairs because "we are spending money every day."
He told the journalists that he did not know of the arrest of any person(s) on the vessel that caused the damage, nor was he able to identify the flag of the vessel.
This notwithstanding, the company was hoping to meet with the owners to help with investigations and also discuss possible compensation for WAPCo.
As he observed, "every day we don't work, we lose revenue of between $5,000.00 and $6,000.00. The people who depend on the gas are also losing revenue because they have to use alternative gas."
He stated that the capacity of the WAGP after repairs would remain at the system capacity of initial 170 mmBTU/day and final 474 mmBTU/day.
Also, the supply to the countries per contract would remain at 5m mmscf (cubic feet of gas) to Cotounou, the same amount to Lome and the rest of 123m mmscf to Ghana.
The MD appealed to governments in the stakeholder countries including Ghana to create a secured business environment for the WAGP to operate. He noted that this was needed for growth, and to prevent re-occurrence of damages to WAPCo.
Also, he urged the stakeholders to prepare for regional growth especially that of the oil and gas industry in the sub-region, oil tanker and other large vessel movements, oil products exportation and needs of the gas based industry.
Additionally, he said criminality should be stamped out because it would stunt economic growth, make investors move to safer and more secured jurisdiction, and also increase the cost of business including insurance premium.
He assured all that WAPCo would enhance its Pipeline Damage Prevention Strategies, collaborate with relevant agencies and organizations, and intensify stakeholder engagements for the benefit of all.