Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and a Chinese consortium have met in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, to work towards finalising the term sheet for financing of the 614 kilometres (km)Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project.
A statement from NNPC’s Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, on Wednesday in Abuja stated that the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, met with the consortium comprising the Bank of China and Sinosure on this.
Ughamadu, explained that Baru, had to cut short his holy pilgrimage trip to Saudi Arabia to attend the Dubai meeting with the Chinese consortium.
According to Ughamadu, Baru, reiterated the need for both parties to ensure speedy conclusion on the details of the agreement towards its full execution which would happen when President Muhammadu Buhari, visits China next month.
He said Buhari was scheduled to attend the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit holding between September 1 and 4, in the Chinese capital, Beijing, and that the AKK project would be top on his agenda for discussion with the Chinese.
The NNPC had earlier clarified that the execution of the AKK gas pipeline project was largely progressing under the original concept of 100 per cent contractor financing model. It noted that this was contrary to some media report of a possible resort to proceed of gas tariffs as new means of funding because of purported collapse of negotiation with Chinese lenders.
The corporation also noted that the successful conclusion of the contractor financing terms would pave way for a ground-breaking ceremony for the project which would take place after the conclusion of the front-end activities.
It said it had concluded the vital Front End Engineering Design (FEED) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, while work on the detailed engineering design was nearing conclusion.
Upon completion within a projected 24-month window, the NNPC stated that the AKK gas pipeline would enable connectivity between the East, West and North, which is currently non-existent.
It explained this would also enable gas supply and utilisation to key commercial centres in the northern corridor of Nigeria with the attendant positive spin-off on power generation and industrial growth.