The West Africa Gas Pipeline, which had been down for close to a year due to Niger Delta crisis, has pumped about 570 million standard cubic feet of natural gas to Ghana since it resumed operations on March 20, 2010.

The Managing Director, West African Gas Pipeline Company, Mr. Jack Derickson, who spoke with Reuters on Tuesday, said, 'The volume of gas flowing is approximately 30 million standard cubic feet per day, which is enough to generate 110 megawatts.'

The volume of gas already pumped from Nigeria to Ghana in 19 days amounts to 570mscf.

He said the resumption of flows on the line on March 20 would allow power plants in Ghana's western port city of Takoradi to switch from the costlier light crude they had been using to produce electricity since the shutdown last May.

Flows on the pipeline, which was originally put in service in 2008, were suspended in part due to vandalism of supply lines by Niger Delta militants.

The cost of the 678 kilometre pipeline, originally scheduled for completion in 2007 to help ease chronic power shortages in Ghana, Benin and Togo, increased nearly 50 per cent to $1bn from $590m, he noted.

Derickson had, last year, said inflation, fluctuating exchange rates and delay were part of the factors responsible for the increase in the total cost of the project.

He specifically identified the protracted Niger Delta crisis as a factor behind the increase in the cost of the West African Gas Pipeline, saying, 'Rebel attacks in Nigeria's restive Niger Delta have boosted the cost of a natural gas pipeline to Ghana in which US supermajor Chevron is a large stakeholder. We have suffered delays due to many factors including damage to the pipeline as a result of the unrest in Niger Delta region.'

The WAPCo is a 678 kilo metre onshore and offshore high pressure transnational pipeline which will transmit natural gas from Nigeria to Benin, Ghana and Togo. The pipeline is expected to have a maximum capacity of 470 million standard cubic Feet per Day of gas.

Owned and operated by WAPCo, the shareholders of the company are ChevronTexaco West African Gas Pipeline Ltd (38.2 per cent); Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (26.0 per cent); Shell Overseas Holdings Limited (18.8 per cent); and Takoradi Power Company Limited (17.0 per cent).

He also stated that the newly discovered Jubilee oil field in Ghana would not compromise supplies of gas from Nigeria.

He said, 'The discovery of gas in Takoradi, Ghana will not compromise supplies from Nigeria. There is still plenty of natural gas demand in the sub region to utilise the full capacity of WAGP using Nigerian gas.'