Eight years after the Sokoto State government awarded contract for the construction of a 38 megawatts gas turbine power station, the project is yet to take off.
In 2008, the Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko administration signed a contract with a United States-based energy company, Vulcan Capital Energy, to build the power plant at the cost of N3.8 billion.
The contract, expected to be completed within six months in the first quarter of 2009, was to be executed through the company’s subsidiary, Vulcan Elvaton Limited, an Abuja based firm.
But there is yet no clue as to when the project will become operational.
The deadline was first shifted to September 2009, later to December 2010 and to July 2011. It was then extended to September 2013 and later August 2014. It kept changing due to what state officials described as “unforeseen circumstances.”
Our source findings revealed that the source of fuel for powering the plant is the major reason behind its continuous delay.
“The project was conceived without a proper feasibility study. It was more of a political decision rather than technical. That is why the issue of fuelling the plant was not properly addressed,” a source said.
Another source said: “They weighed the use of diesel to power the plant’s generators which will consume dozens of trucks of diesel per day. The cost, logistics, safety and even availability of diesel dissuaded the officials from that option.”
Nigerian Insight gathered that the state government is considering fuelling the plant with compressed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
“The state is contemplating engaging a firm that will build an LNG plant near the power plant to fuel it,” the source said.
Even at that, the issue of cost remains. The source said it was clear that the state government dabbled into the project “without a diligent feasibility study as important as the plant’s source of fuelling.”
In 2013, the issue of fuelling with the then Secretary to the State Government, Sahabi Isa Gada. He said the machine was convertible, and therefore could be run with the cheapest available oil.
“At the end of the installation, we will decide, it could be diesel, it could be black oil, it could be liquefied natural gas. Gas is cheaper but getting it here will be a bit difficult. We are looking at many possibilities, but when we come to the installation, it will be decided. We are already talking to some companies that will provide either black oil or gas. Diesel will be too expensive,” he said.
But the Director-General of the state’s NIPP project, Bande Yabo, told Nigerian Insight correspondent that the change of government last year was responsible for the delay in the project’s take-off. He said the plant’s transformer was installed in March last year and they were consulting with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) before commissioning the project.
When our reporter visited the project site at Arkilla area of Sokoto, it was observed that the plant’s turbine, transformer, generator and tanks have been installed.
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