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 Lawmakers Urge NNPC to Submit Status Details of $12bn Natural Gas Pipeline Project

Lawmakers Urge NNPC to Submit Status Details of $12bn Natural Gas Pipeline Project

THIS DAY

The House of Representatives has called on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to provide information regarding the implementation, utilisation of funds as well as the status of its $12 billion, 4,128 kilometers Natural Gas Pipeline Project.

Similarly, the House of Representatives also mandated its Committees on Gas, Niger Delta Development Commission and Healthcare Services to investigate soot pollution in the Niger Delta region and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

The House also urged the NNPC to review the National Gas Master Plan relating to the project to conform with the variables of today’s global economy.

The resolutions by the lawmakers followed the adoption of a motion on the urgent need to address prolonged construction of the Trans Saharan natural gas pipeline project, sponsored Hon. Ahmed Munir at yesterday’s plenary.

Moving the motion, Munir recalled that on January 14, 2002, the then Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Algerian National Oil and Gas Company (Sonatrach) had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a $12 billion, 4,128 kilometers Natural Gas Pipeline Project with a projected annual capacity of 30 billion cubic meters that will extend Gas supply to Europe.

He noted that in June 2005, then NNPC and Sonatrach also signed a contract with Penspen Limited for a feasibility study of the project, which was completed in September 2006, and 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.

He expressed concerns that 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.

He explained: “Cognisant that a new Gas Master Plan (GMP) needs to be crafted due to the current geo-political realities such as newly completed 20,000 barrel per day Zinder Refinery in the Niger Republic, new Niger-Benin Republic Pipeline due for completion in 2023, discovery and exploitation of hydrocarbons in commercial quantity in the Lake Chad Region of Chad Republic, prospecting of oil and gas on the Nigerian side of Lake Chad, discovery of hydrocarbons in Bauchi, 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 Nation looking for alternative options to meet energy demands.

“Also cognisant that the successful completion of this vital project will create jobs, spur economic growth, and enhance energy and regional security.”

Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Gas Resources to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Gas, Niger Delta Development Commission, and Healthcare Services to investigate soot pollution in the Niger Delta and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

The lawmakers also urged the federal government to seek a permanent solution to the soot pollution by enforcing relevant laws and proper regulation of gas flaring.

The resolutions of the lawmakers were sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Bamidele Salam.

Moving the motion, Salam noted that soot was one of the deadliest forms of air pollution as it contains dangerous chemical substances that cause cancer, heart attacks, skin diseases, bronchitis, aggravated asthma, strokes, other respiratory and reproductive issues all of which can lead to premature death.

He also noted that since 2016, there have been several reports of soot pollution in the Niger Delta with a 30 per cent increase in morbidity and mortality rates in Rivers State.

He further noted that in 2018, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike commissioned an investigation on soot pollution in Rivers State, and it was established that the pollution was largely caused by illegal bunkering and gas flaring.

Salam expressed concerns that the situation was allegedly aggravated by the recent oil spillage that occurred at Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited oil well last November.

He further expressed concerns that as of December 2020, Port Harcourt was reported as the most polluted city in the world, with an air index of 207, which was far above the standard and moderate levels of 0-100, thus making the city the unhealthiest for residents.

He added that the federal government was far behind in its national flare-out target, which had aggravated the soot pollution in the Niger Delta region.

In a related development, the lawmakers adopting a motion sponsored by Hon. Gboluga Dele Ikengboju mandated its Committees on Healthcare Services, Health Institutions and Environment to interface with the Chief Medical Directors of University Teaching Hospitals, Medical Directors of Federal Medical Centres, and other Health Facilities in Nigeria which produce Healthcare Waste and other relevant stakeholders to determine possible government and institutional interventions that will promote proper Healthcare Waste Management in Nigeria.

The Committees at the meeting with the stakeholders are also to develop and propose a permanent and sustainable solution to the current challenges of Healthcare Waste Management and report back within two weeks for further legislative action.

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