WAPCo to cut gas supply for maintenance work

The West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo),operator of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), will cut gas supply to the Volta River Authority to pave the way for cleaning and inspection of its off-shore pipeline from Nigeria.

The exercise, dubbed ‘pigging’, is intended to protect the integrity of WAPCo’s offshore pipeline which is the main critical asset of the company that transports natural gas within the four west African States – Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana. The exercise is a month-long programme scheduled to begin January 20 to March 21, 2020.

A press release signed by the General Manager, Corporate Affairs-WAPCo, Kwasi Prempeh, explained that the process of mean gas supply to Tema, Lome and Cotonou will be interrupted until after the exercise is complete.

“As a result of the pigging exercise, reverse flow of gas from Takoradi to Tema as well as the supply of gas through the laterals to the various gas processing facilities in Tema, Lomeand Cotonou will be curtailed. Gas will, however, be supplied in sufficient quantities from the east to Takoradi to facilitate the pigging process.

“Apart from cleaning the pipeline of debris, pigging will provide information on the condition of the pipeline to inform decisions on its effective maintenance to prolong its lifespan and to improve safety of our operation. Effluents from the pigging will be discharged in Takoradi where WAPCo has arranged for it to be managed in line with the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency-prescribed processes and procedures,” he said.

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Pigging the pipeline will involve cleaning and an in-line inspection of the offshore pipeline from Nigeria to Ghana,using multiple cleaning pigs and an intelligent pig for data-gathering. The pig will be launched from the Lagos Beach Compressor Station (LBCS) in Badagry, Nigeria, and will be received at our Takoradi Regulating and Metering Station (R&MS) in Ghana.

Mr. Prempeh added that pigging is in line with regulatory requirements and also important for maintenance of the pipeline’s integrity.  Periodic cleaning of the line is also needed for it to be more efficient and reliable in delivering gas to customers.  Without this work, he said, there is a risk of losing the pipeline completely.

He used the opportunity to clear the air on some concerns the public may want answers to. Among such concerns are the likely impact the pigging exercise may have on power supply,and why it is being carried out at this time.

“We have worked closely with the Ministry of Energy for the past several months planning this exercise, and I would like to direct that question [what happens to gas supply] to Ministry of Energy. It is a regulatory and critical operational integrity requirement that is due. The date was arrived at in consultation with stakeholders in all four countries to allow for safe execution of the work while attempting to minimiseimpact on customers,” he said.

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He further reiterated that gas supply from the east to Temawill be cut, as his outfit together with the Ministry of Energy, GNPC and Eni will also be completing tie-in work to expand the Tema facility at the same time the pigging is being executed.

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