10 January 2018

Nigeria: Normalcy Gradually Returns to Industrial Clusters After Escravos Fire

Normalcy is gradually returning to industrial clusters and to other users dependent on gas supplies from the Escravos to Lagos Pipeline (ELP) after gas supplies were shutdown due to a fire incident reported by the Nigerian Gas Processing and Transportation Company Limited (NGPTC) on its Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System near Okada, Edo State.

According to the manufacturers, gas supply to industrial clusters resumed on Monday, almost a week after supplies were terminated, leaving local producers to depend on black oil for operations.

In a chat with The Guardian, Chairman of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Gas Users Group, Dr Michael Adebayo said though production was affected during the period, the duration of the repairs was considerably fair as supply resumed on Monday to some industrial clusters dependent on gas.

He however commended the Federal Government for the timely intervention and response, noting that that the duration of the power shutdown could have been longer.

Adebayo added that the effect was mitigated by the limited operations during the period due to the slowdown in production as a result of the resumption from the end of the year holidays, as well as the availability of black oil as back-up for production.

On his part, the Coordinator, Manufacturers Power Development Company Limited, Oweh Mba-Sam, said this is not the first time local production will be affected by a shutdown of the gas pipelines, adding that operators are optimistic the challenges will be addressed.

He said: "There is nothing we can do about it. We are waiting and hoping that things will be resolved soon. This is not the first time. The best is to face reality and adjust. The best is to mount pressure on officials to ensure that normalcy is returned".

It would be recalled that after last week Tuesday's fire incident, the nationwide blackout had continued last Wednesday after efforts by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to restore electricity failed, following a second system collapse of transmission network.

The second system failure occurred when the Odukpani-Ikot Ekpene 330kV transmission line tripped, cutting off electricity generation and transmission from the Odukpani power station to the grid.

TCN had explained that NGPTC, the gas supply and marketing subsidiary of NNPC, had indicated that a contractor had been mobilised to repair the affected segment of the Escravos-Lagos pipeline, so that gas supply to the Omotosho, Egbin, and Olorunsogo I and II thermal power stations could be restored.

The development has led to drastic drop in power generation nationwide. For instance, the peak generation on Friday was 3,741.1MW compared to 4,685.3MW peak generation attained on Monday, a day before the fire incident.

Meanwhile, Adebayo also urged the Federal Government to revisit the issue of gas pricing saying that the growth of the manufacturing sector is being hampered by the huge burden of energy crisis caused by power outages and high cost of petroleum products.

He commended the Federal Government for reviewing the gas policy as advocated by manufacturers, saying the new policy, if implemented, will lead to resumption of local production by many manufacturers, which would also enhance competitiveness in the real sector.

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