Zambia and Angola have signed an Inter-Governmental Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation to facilitate private sector Development and Implementation of the Refined Petroleum Multi-Product and Natural Gas Pipeline Project (AZOP) which will stretch from that country to Lusaka.
Minister of Energy Matthew Nkhuwa who signed on behalf of the Zambian government described the MoU as a great milestone in facilitating the Angola-Zambia Oil Pipeline (AZOP) which has taken 10 years of negotiations.
Mr Nkhuwa speaking at the signing ceremony held at Sana Luanda Hotel said it was a great relief that both the Zambian and Angolan Governments had finally reached mutual agreement as reflected by the aspirations of the two countries in the MoU whose priority focus is on enhancing economic cooperation in the Petroleum sub sector.
“This Inter-Governmental Memorandum of Understanding symbolises our commitment to foster development in our two nations, particularly in the energy sector,” said the Minister.
Mr Nkhuwa underscored the importance of Petroleum and its by-products as they drive the engines of growth and development through the crucial role they play in the production and transportation of goods and services.
Mr Nkhuwa commended Basali Ba Liseli Resources Limited, the promotors of the project, for its proactive initiative to advance the petroleum and power sectors.
“I am confident that this initiative will provide a platform to further strengthen the bilateral relationship that exists between Angola and Zambia, especially, towards the provision of sustainable energy services. This initiative will also contribute to the realisation of the Southern African Development Community’s goal for enhanced regional economic integration,” Mr Nkhuwa noted.
He disclosed that once constructed the pipeline will be producing 100,000 to 120,000 barrels per day of refined petroleum products along hubs to be established in Angola and Zambia.
Mr Nkhuwa further added that the AZOP pipelines system will also have a gas pipeline expected to be supplying Natural Gas to Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Plants to be located in Angola and Zambia for the production of electricity of a combined minimum capacity of 2,000 Mega Watts for the Angolan, and Zambian electricity markets.
Mr Nkhuwa went on indicate that the project is also expected to employ about 12,500 to 14,500 local people in Angola and Zambia during construction.
“The Pipeline system shall include Single point Moorings, Gas receiving terminals, inlet tank facilities, hubs, pump stations, a main terminal, and Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Plants, as well as a fibre-optic cable system. Once operational, the project will have the capacity to employ in excess of 4,000 Zambian and Angolan nationals, combined,” he said.
The Minister called for the further need to invest in the petroleum sector to meet the growing demand and enhance security of supply given the growth in economic activities in the region.
“Despite this appreciable progress, there is still need for more investments in order to meet the growing demand for sustainable development in various regions of our countries. We recognise that one player, let alone Government, cannot drive this agenda for sustainable development on its own.
“Accordingly, there is need for conceited efforts from all stakeholders and the private sector will play a key role in harnessing the oil and gas potential of not only Zambia and Angola but the region as a whole,” he said.
And Angolan Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas who signed on behalf of that government, Diamantino Azevedo, said his government was happy to partner in facilitating the project whose feasibility studies once conducted will determine the cost of the project and when actual construction will commence.
Mr Azevedo said the benefits from the project will enhance economic cooperation and improve the lives of the people.
The Minister said Angola was positioning itself to become a major gasoline supplier in the SADC region following its heavy investment in constructing terminal oil reserves in strategic regions of the country.
Mr Azeveod said the country has capacity to meet its fuel demand and that of the region hence the cooperation of the oil pipeline which will be undertaken by the governments.
And Zambian Ambassador to Angola Lawrence Chalungumana, expressed happiness with the signing ceremony as it showed the country’s growth in their bilateral relations.
The Envoy said the countries were also exploring further cooperation in other sectors especially in road construction and agriculture which he disclosed has resulted in the construction of the Jimbe road where a contractor has since been identified on that country’s side which once completed will link Angola to Zambia through North Western province.
Mr Nkhuwa and his delegation has since returned from Angola following last night’s signing ceremony of the MoU.