20,000MW target: Entrepreneur urges FG to double network of pipelines

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Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, the Chairman of Nestoil Limited, has advised the Federal Government to double the network of pipelines to enhance power generating stations’ access to natural gas supply.

Azudialu-Obiejesi gave the advice at the second edition of the Nigerian International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference (NIPITECS) held in Abuja.

A statement by his company in Lagos on Wednesday quoted Azudialu-Obiejesi as saying that the step would boost power generation output to 20,000 megawatts needed to drive the industrialisation that would spur the nation’s economic development.

According to him, the current method of using domestic gas cylinders is outdated and has been scrapped in industrialised nations.

“Nigeria, with its abundant reserves of petroleum and gas, stands on the threshold of its own industrial revolution.

“To kick-start this industrialisation, we must not only extract these resources in the most efficient manner, but also refine and deliver them efficiently and in a secure and cost effective manner,” he said.

The chief executive said that investment in more pipelines by the government would help to eliminate dangerous exposure suffered by the general populace when oil and gas were evacuated through road transportation.

He expressed regret about the material cost, dilapidation of roads and great havoc caused in the past couple of months by road transportation of petroleum products following the explosion of petroleum tankers in Lagos and Nasarawa states.

“When the proper pipeline network exists and runs reliably, products are always delivered on time, eliminating the need to build hundreds of storage/holding facilities all over the country,” he said.

He listed vandalism, sabotage, ageing and integrity issues as posing great challenges to construction, maintenance and operation of the existing pipelines in the country.

According to him, interference, sabotage and vandalism have resulted in oil spills with the attendant environmental, health and safety implications as well as negative impact on agricultural and fishing activities.

Commenting on the government’s new approach to make award of major pipeline projects to be contractor-financed, Azudialu-Obiejesi said that the funding of these projects was a very big limiting factor for Nigerian Engineering, Procurement and Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) companies.

According to him, the local companies face bigger challenges raising fund for EPCC pipeline projects compared with the level of struggle for fund to finance projects by the Federal Government.

“Considering the age, state and exposure of our pipeline infrastructure, there should be concrete plans for replacement with better designed, constructed and secured pipelines utilising modern methods and technologies,” he said.

He urged the government to ensure security, reliability and continuous operation of the nation’s pipeline network by addressing the issues of criminality, sabotage and vandalism.

He also called on government to create enabling environment to grow pipeline networks as expatriate companies would never do it for Nigeria.

“Pipeline construction companies should desist from unhealthy competition and negativity such as writing negative and potentially destructive lies about each other in the media, thereby destroying the image of Nigeria both locally and internationally,” the chairman said. (NAN)

– Sept. 19, 2018 @ 18:12 GMT |

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