By Yerima Kini Nsom
Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, says gas exploited in the Bakassi peninsular in the Southwest region is being liquefied in Kribi, the South Region, for safety reasons. He made the explanation during a question and answer session at the National Assembly Friday, November 19. The Prime Minister said government was executing developmental projects in convenient areas of the country, thereby dismissing claims that certain regions were being discriminated against in terms of development projects.
Yang was answering a question asked by the MP for the Mezam Centre constituency, Hon Simon Fobi Nchinda. “I am honoured to request your high office to present to the peoples’ representative, some clarifications concerning the localisation of the gas liquidation plant in Kribi for gas tapped in the Bakassi peninsular” the MP said.
Hon. Fobi Nchinda said he was informed that Government has signed a multi-billion dollar agreement with the French company, Gaz de Finance (with external financing by the World Bank) for the exploitation, transformation and liquefaction of gas from Bakassi. He added that, “This gas will be transformed using an overland gazoduct from Bakassi, through the entire Southwest Region and finally to be liquefied in that part of Kribi at a total cost of more than FCFA 150 billion.” The MP dismissed arguments advanced against localisation in Limbe.
Hear him: “The arguments advanced against the localisation of the gas liquefaction plant in the port of Limbe are that Limbe falls within the radius of the Mount Cameroon Volcano. If this were the only argument for by-passing Limbe for distant Kribi then you should be informed that the gas pipeline, intermediary stations and facilities (which cost more than the liquefaction plant) will themselves have to be located in the volcanic radius and cannot pass up the volcano. Will they be displaced too?”
The MPs told the Prime Minister that SONARA, which is so important to the national fuel chain, is itself also located in Limbe and has not stopped functioning because of the volcano for more than 20 years. He said that Limbe is a natural deep sea port that is conducive for handling the types of tankers that would be exporting the gas.
Hon. Fobi further observed: “In addition to the distance of the transportation of the raw materials (and hence the length of gazoduct) will be cut into half, therefore costing the Cameroonian tax payer nearly FCFA 50 billion less, which money can be used in many other development projects.
This is a lot of money wasted!” He claimed that the environment risk which comes with such projects will be reduced significantly if the length of the pipeline is reduced. According to the MP, the original destination of COTCO, the EXXON-MOBIL pipeline for Chadian crude oil, was supposed to be in Limbe. For political reasons, he said, the pipe ended up going to Kribi whose distance is longer and more costly.
“May I use this occasion to decry the absence of a rational plan for the territorial destination of strategic industries? These strategic industries must as much as possible be nationally distributed! It will be a major catalyst for decentralisation. It shall help keep the populations in the regions instead of flooding the major towns”
The MP condemned the fact that, most projects that are expected to spur development and employment are concentrated in the Centre, South, East and Littoral regions, while the Northern and Western regions are deserted.