By Etuka Sunday
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has called for more integration among countries within the West African sub-region towards providing lasting solutions to the region’s numerous energy challenges.
Dr. Baru was quoted to have made the call during a meeting with the United States Energy Secretary, Rick Perry and some African petroleum ministers, on the sidelines of the 19th CERAWeek Conference taking place in Houston, United States.
NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in a release in Abuja said Dr. Baru disclosed at the meeting that energy integration across the sub-region was necessary as it would drastically reduce unemployment and restiveness as well as improve the economies of the affected countries.
“Nigeria as a regional leader has already encouraged regional integration by first putting up the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) to ensure gas is available to West Africa. We are also doing the Trans Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP), even as we are intent on extending the WAGP to Morocco,” Baru told the US Energy Secretary at the occasion.
He said the intent was to come up with a West African Power Pool that would put up power plants and other gas-based industries along those areas within the respective countries.
The GMD said Nigeria’s crude oil production had seen tremendous improvement in recent years, due to Federal Government’s laudable efforts in ensuring security in the Niger Delta region.
He said Nigeria and US had been very good partners with about $35bn worth of trade between the two countries.
Earlier in his remarks, the United States Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, expressed his country’s commitment towards helping Africa achieve energy independence for the benefit of their people.
Other Ministers and high level energy executives from African countries such as Ghana, Mali, South Sudan, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Sierra Leone participated in the meeting.