18 December 2012

Nigeria: Insufficient Gas Supply Hampers Operations of Four Power Stations

Despite claims by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that it has surplus gas for power generation, the operations of four power stations across the country have been hampered by insufficient gas supply from the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of the NNPC, THISDAY has gathered.

Speaking recently during the 42nd Annual General Meeting, Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSCHE) in Abuja, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, stated that in line with the Federal Government's aspiration, the NNPC had exceeded the gas-to-power supply target.

He further disclosed that the NNPC had made it a top priority to ensure that between 70 and 80 per cent of gas supply would be channelled to power generation to ensure steady supply of electricity.

THISDAY's investigations, however, revealed that the NNPC's claim was false as four of the existing power stations are generating far below capacity due to insufficient gas supply from the NNPC.

It was also gathered that there was no guarantee of gas supply for the newly-completed power stations that were undergoing pre-commissioning tests.

The four functional power stations that were adversely affected by insufficient gas supply include Geregu Plant in Kogi State; National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) Plant in Sapele in Delta State; NIPP Plant in Omotosho in Ondo State and NIPP plant in Olorunsogo in Ogun State.

THISDAY gathered from sources at the 500megawatt-capacity Olorunsogo Plant that the station, which has four units, had been generating around 100 megawatts because units 1, 2 and 3 are on standby due to insufficient gas supply from the NGC.

According to a source close to the plant, "unit 2 also suffers from de-ionised cooling water problem."

Investigations also revealed that the 375megawatt-capacity Omotosho Plant, which has three units, is generating about 117megawatts because units 2 and 3 are on standby due to inadequate gas supply to the plant.

Also the 375-megawatt capacity NIPP plant at Sapele, which has four units, generates about 227.1megawatts because unit 4 is on standby due to the inability of the NGC to supply enough gas to the plant.

A source close to the plant also told THISDAY that unit 1 was also non-operational due to "excitation problem."

THISDAY also gathered from sources at Geregu Power Station that the 414-megawatt capacity plant was generating 240megawatts of electricity because only units 12 and 13 are operational.

One of the sources at the plant told THISDAY that unit 11 was on standby due to insufficient gas supply.

Speaking recently during the signing of a performance agreement between the Minister of State for Power, Mrs. Zainab Kuchi, and Permanent Secretary, Dr. Dere Awosika, the Chief Executive Officer of Egbin Power Station, Mr. Mike Uzoigwe, predicted that Nigeria would generate 6,873 megawatts of electricity by the end of 2013.

However, concern over insufficient gas supply to fire the gas-powered stations has raised doubt over the ability of the country to attain this target.

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