054-i. Advisory review: EIA for West African gas pipeline - Ghana

The NCEA reviewed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the West African gas pipeline and concluded that some elements were missing. Some of these were considered essential issues which should be addressed before sound decision-making on license granting is possible. These issues were addressed in an EIA addendum, which was subsequently also reviewed by the NCEA.

Advisory reports and other documents

29 Apr 2004: Advisory review
Accompanying letter
Appendices Advice
31 Aug 2004: Advisory review
Appendices Advice

Significant details

The West African Gas Pipeline Company Ltd. (WAPCo) intends to construct an onshore and offshore gas pipeline to deliver natural gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ghana received the EIA report for this project, in line with regulations. Due to the complex nature of the project (strategic, with potential transboundary impacts and strong interest of the public), the EPA composed an inter-sectoral team to review the EIA report. Via the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana, the EPA asked the NCEA to assist the review team. A joint review by the review team and the NCEA would improve the review process and its outcomes, and simultaneously enhance the capacity of the review team.

The NCEA formed a working group of experts, with expertise in various disciplines. After a site visit during which the working group participated in review meetings, the NCEA issued its advice. The NCEA used the Terms of Reference (ToR) for this EIA, which it had previously advised on, as a review framework. General conclusions included:

  • In general, the EIA report is of good quality;
  • There are however some important deficiencies, some of which should be addressed before decision-making on license granting:
    • Maps should be included to indicate the pipeline routes and surrounding topography;
    • A quantitative risk assessment for the safety of the offshore pipeline areas is missing;
    • There is no description of an alternative which is most friendly to the environment;
    • Certain facts and results analyses need to be included to enable verification of the risk analysis procedures;
    • There are no assurances for prevention of conflicting forms of land use near the pipelines;
    • Emergency response capacity and capabilities to be established are not specified.

A number of less urgent deficiencies are also addressed in the review, with the recommendation to use them as conditions for license granting instead of having them remedied before license granting. Lastly, the NCEA provided recommendations on stakeholder consultation and on EPA's review process and outputs.

The NCEA's recommendations on the issues listed above were accepted by the EPA, and an addendum to the EIA report was prepared. The EPA requested the NCEA to review this addendum. In this second review, it mentioned among others the following general remarks and recommendations:

  • The addendum responds well to the NCEA's remarks on the first draft EIA report;
  • Outcomes of discussions with specified third parties could be recorded and consolidated in Agreements of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU);
  • A more transparent procedure for comparing and evaluating alternatives should be established, and EPA (not WAPCo) should be indicated as the party to select one of these alternatives.

Apart from these general remarks, the NCEA's advise gives some detailed comments.

Parties involved

Members of the working group

Chris Geerling
Gerco de Jong

Chair: Klaas-Jan Beek
Technical secretary: Ineke Steinhauer

Proponent and Component Authority

West African Gas Pipeline Company Ltd. (WAPCo)

Component Authority
EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

Further details

Country: Ghana

Last modified: 28 May 2019