Osinbajo: Shortage of Gas to Nigeria’s Power Plants Ironic

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  • Says 3132MW of electricity constrained by lack of gas

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo monday said it was still an irony to him that Nigeria cannot provide enough natural gas to thermal power plants in the south to generate electricity for use by homes and industries.

Osinbajo said the development was despite Nigeria’s reported huge natural gas reserves of 180 trillion cubic feet (tcf) which places her in the ninth position in the league of countries with huge gas reserves in the world.

The vice president spoke at the ninth annual conference of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE) in Abuja. The conference which was organised in conjunction with the International Association of Energy Economics (IAEE), was centered on the roles natural gas and renewable energy can play in energising emerging economies.

Osinbajo stated at the conference that because of Nigeria’s inability to provide gas for her thermal electricity generation plants, the country currently has up to 3132 megawatts (MW) of available electricity generation capacity constrained from getting into the national grid.
He explained that the situation has largely remained as it is because there had been no investment in gas gathering and processing facilities for domestic consumption especially for gas power plants.

He, however, stated that the federal government was determined to sustainably resolve the country’s energy challenges using institutional and regulatory policy framework that will incentivise the development of her natural gas sector.

“It is almost a cliché now to state that Nigeria abundant natural gas reserves and great renewable energy potentials especially in hydro power and high solar irradiation.
“Despite these huge resources, we still face huge energy supply problems. In fact, it is an irony that we do not have sufficient gas to fire our power plants up to 7000MW, yet in energy industry circle, Nigeria is described as more a gas territory than an oil territory,” said Osinbajo.

He further explained: “Currently, the country has over 12,500MW of installed electricity generating capacity, consisting of gas thermal and hydropower plants. About 7,000mw of that is available, however, from the System Operator’s report, the average energy generated and sent out to end users in the past weeks was less than 4,000mw due largely to gas constraints.”
“We have limited gas molecules to supply to the power plants. This is as a result of many years of underinvestment in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption and also many years of gas flaring.

‘In addition, there is also the challenge of inadequate infrastructure to transport the available gas to the power plants due also to lack of investment in gas transportation infrastructure and to vandalism of existing infrastructure,” Osibanjo added.
According to him, the recent rupture of key gas pipeline in the western axis of the country has ensured that supply to plants such as Ughelli, Egbin, Omotosho-1, Olorunsogo-1, Omotosho-NIPP and Olorunsogo-NIPP is affected.

“The present administration acknowledges that there is no alternative to electric energy for energising and powering Nigeria’s economy to economic growth and development, thus, we are determined to resolve the challenges to achieving sustainable energy supply in the country.
“We are working towards resolving the gas-to-power challenges, ensuring that the needed investments will be made in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption, especially for power plants,” he said on their plans.