More than half of the nation’s power plants, including Egbin Thermal Power Station in Lagos, are currently facing gas shortage.
The nation’s unutilised electricity generation capacity due to gas constraints rose to 4,284.5 megawatts on Friday, August 5, 2016 from 3,100.5MW on April 5, according to industry data obtained by our correspondent.
The situation was recently exacerbated by the upsurge in the militant attacks of gas and power installations in the Niger Delta.
Other affected plants are Olorunsogo I and II, Omotosho I and II, Geregu I and II, Delta, Trans-Amadi, Ihovbor, Alaoji II, Rivers IPP, Gbarain, and Omoku.
The actual generation capacities of Egbin and Afam VI were put at 1,100MW and 650MW, respectively.
Olorunsogo I and II, Omotosho I and II, Alaoji, Rivers IPP, Geregu I and Gbarain failed to produce any megawatts from their capacities of 190MW, 480MW, 228MW, 360MW, 240MW, 160MW, 290MW and 112.5MW, respectively, the report indicated.
Trans-Amadi’s unutilised capacity was put at 49.2 out of 60MW actual capacity; Delta Gas, 162 (480); Ihovbor, 359.8 (450), and Omoku, 66 (80).
The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Egbin Power Plc, Dallas Peavey Jr., said in May that the company would build a liquefied natural gas terminal in a bid to solve its supply woes, adding that plans to boost Egbin’s capacity by between 1,575MW and 1,900MW were now on hold.
The gas outages have “brought to a halt, at least temporarily, our plans to double the capacity of the plant,” he told Bloomberg. “We can’t double the capacity if we can’t find the fuel.”
The Transmission Company of Nigeria had on February 2, 2016 announced that the nation achieved its peak generation of 5,074.70MW.
But the feat was short-lived as generation dropped below the 4,000MW mark later that month, plunging to a record low of 1,400MW on May 17, according to the TCN.
The PUNCH had also reported that the nation’s power grid recorded 21 collapses in the first half of the year; 16 of which were total, and the remaining five were partial. The latest system collapse (partial) was recorded on July 10, according to the data.
Total power generation stood at 3,185.2MW on August 5, up from 2,920.1MW on August 1, when 18 plants including Sapele II, Ibom Power and Odukpani were affected by gas constraints.
The country generates most of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydro-power plants make up about 30 per cent of total generation.
In what was a big blow to electricity generation in the country, Shell’s Forcados export terminal was hit in February, forcing the oil major to declare force majeure on the exports of the crude oil grade.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, in its financial and operations report released in June, said, “The nation has lost over 1,500MW of power supply to the damage as gas supply from Forcados, which is Nigeria’s major artery, accounts for 40 to 50 per cent of gas production. Incessant pipeline vandalism poses the greatest threat to the industry.”
Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc suspended plans to build one of the nation’s biggest power plants amid gas shortage and a downturn in the nation’s economy hindering efforts to raise funds for the project.
The company in 2014 said it would raise $1bn to build a 1,000-megawatt gas-fired facility.
The Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp, Emmanuel Nnorom, was quoted by Bloomberg to have said in an interview, “How do you make the investments when you are generating far below your current capacity due to gas problems.”
“My number one problem would be gas, owing to much capacity available that is not put to use,” the Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp Power Limited, a subsidiary of Transcorp, Adeoye Fadeyibi, was quoted to have said in the same interview.
Transcorp is in discussions with some foreign companies to diversify its sources of electricity to include solar, which will enable it to lower constraints from gas supplies, according to him.
An energy expert at Banwo & Ighodalo law firm, Mr. Ayodele Oni, said, “What may be considered are alternatives to gas pipelines such as the concept of a virtual pipeline system; where, rather than use pipelines, mini-LNG plants can be built to liquefy gas and transport liquefied gas via trucks from where gas is produced to power plants that require same.”
According to him, the liquefied gas will be converted to gas again via a re-gasification process at the relevant power plant/at a facility close by, adding that “the transportation through trucks or rail is what is considered ‘virtual’ pipeline.”
Oni said some other companies might also consider using compressed natural gas transported via trucks for use by these power plants.
“Interestingly, the government has been doing a lot recently to de-emphasise the use of natural gas and ensure there is a robust energy mix. As less emphasis is placed on gas and gas pipelines, there would be less incentives for vandalism,” he added.