As part of concerted efforts towards resolution of the power supply challenges in Nigeria, the Senate Committees on Gas and Power, on Thursday paid a familiarisation visit to the $500 million Greenville Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project, in Rumuji, Rivers State.
The visit was to enable the members of the joint committee understand the benefits of deploying LNG to address the nation’s power challenges in gas plants, rather than deploying diesel and other sources.
The Senate team led by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (Chairman, Gas) and Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Chairman, Power) visited the project at the instance of the upper legislative chamber, as part of efforts to explore alternative sources of energy for the nation.
They were conducted round the gas plant project by the company’s management, led by Managing Director of Greenville, Ms. Ritu Sahajwalla. Sahajwalla told the team that the company is ready to supply power in any part of the country, where the government is ready to enter into a partnership.
The company, she disclosed, had an MoU with the Ministry of Power on the Kaduna 202 power plant, it was however aborted for unclear reasons. She listed the benefits to include LNG being cheaper than diesel by about 40 percent, does not need transmission pipelines as it would be moved by LNG powered trucks, being a source of cleaner energy and therefore of lesser consequence on the environment.
Sahajwalla added that the company remains reliable as it proved itself when supplying bitumen, a few years ago.
“The price was down and we kept it down. That was why none of our competitors could increase the price. It is also in our contract that the price of gas would only go down, not up,” she said. Speaking with THISDAY after the tour, Akpan expressed concerned that a company which is deploying gas that could be flared into LNG, was not receiving the necessary support.
“I am concerned. That is why the Senate President mandated us to come here, as part of the flare out program of government, and part of the elimination of gas flaring in the country. It is companies like this that should be encouraged, unfortunately we hear different stories. As lawmakers, it is our responsibility based on our oversight powers to ensure that the right thing gets done, and that the country derives maximum benefit from its natural resources.”
“Since the emergence of the eighth senate, I have seen a National Assembly that is living up to its responsibility. The actions we have taken, have shown that we are the driving force of our national economic resolve. We are looking at issues from a nationalistic and patriotic angle, and whatever would benefit the masses of this country, we believe it should be done,” Akpan added.
Similarly, Abaribe lamented that a project with its income generating and employment potentials for Nigeria, is not being encouraged, despite the investment of $500 million, at a time when other foreign investors are shunning Nigeria.
“MoUs have been signed. The company signed an MoU for the power plant in Kaduna, then it was abrogated for a reason best known to the Ministry. I do not think it’s about the FG not willing to explore this, I think it has far more to do with the mindset of the bureaucrats that run all these installations meant for the public,” he said.
“I think it is simply a lack of patriotism, and an issue we have to take up, now that we have seen for ourselves, the capacity and the use that can be made of this plant, and the fact that somebody has gone ahead to take an asset which we waste to try to convert it for our benefit. Yet, some within the power sector and the government, do not see the necessity for the investment that has been done.”
“This plant, natural gas, wasted. It is associated gas coming out of the pipelines, and instead of being flared, it is being collected and used in this manner. Its more or less waste to wealth. and we are surprised that people are not seeing the potentials, and the income generating capacity, and of course the employment generating potentials of the company,” Abaribe added.