By Chineme OkaforÂ in AbujaÂ
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) Joint Venture have indicated their intention to improve Nigeriaâ€™s power generation capacity with the construction of the 480 megawatts (MW) phase two Okpai Phase II Independent Power Project (IPP) by 2019.
This was disclosed in a statement from the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, on Friday in Abuja.
Â In 2015, an operating licence for Okpai second phase was issued to NAOC by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). NERC had at that time stated that it got an assured commitment from NAOC that it would continue to move the project forward to a final conclusion.
Â But, Ughamadu in the statement explained that the Group Managing Director of the NNPC Dr. Maikanti Baru, inaugurated a 12-man project team for the Okpai Phase II power plant on Thursday, with a disclosure that all partners were working round the clock to deliver on the project in terms of its specifications, time, and budget
Baru, the statement noted, said the decision by the partners to embark on the second phase of the Okpai power project was hinged on the enormous success of Okpai phase one, which he described as the most consistent power plant in Nigeria.Â
â€œAlthough it (Okpai Phase I) was meant to generate 450MW into national grid, it is now generating an average of 300MW due to evacuation challenge. This is a significant addition to the national grid,â€ Baru, said in the statement.
Â He said the Okpai phase two project would on completion; generate additional 480MW into the national grid. He also charged a 12-man committee set up for the project, to work hard and explore the possibility of delivering the project ahead of the 2019 target date.
Stressing that the project was veryÂ critical to the countryâ€™s power aspirations, Baru urged the joint venture partners to sustain the march towards transforming into an independent joint venture in line with President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s approval of same.
The statement equally quoted the Managing Director of NAOC, Mr. Massimo Insula, who was represented by Mr. Luca Bai, to have said that everything had been put in place to ensure that the project was delivered on schedule.
Similarly, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Oando, Mr. Omamofe Boyo, said his remarks that Oando was committed to sustaining the successes recorded in phase one of the project, and assured that they would work with other partners to ensure prompt and timely delivery of the project.