Minister of Power Appeals for Speedily Restoration of Gas to Power Stations
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo has called on oil and gas workers, just ending a strike action, to quickly take remedial steps to restore gas supply to the nation’s power stations in the national interest.
Prof Nebo observed that the negative effect of the strike on power supply was not only inevitable but also huge since up to 70% percent of generation was coming from gas-fired stations, pending the harvest of electricity from the enormous work already done by government and private sector investors, on new large hydros and other renewables.
In a release signed by the Special Assistant, Media, Mrs Kande Daniel, the Minister said the oil workers’ action which cut-off of gas supply to power stations, on the heels of recent repairs on vandalized gas pipelines, had reduced actual power generation to unprecedented low levels.
The Minister commended the people for their patience and explained that the current power generation capacity of the country stood at 7,000 MW, constrained by transmission infrastructure to about 6,000 MW and total generation rising to 4,500 megawatts in October 2014, with a potential to get up to 5,500 megawatts from gas-fired and hydro power plants. According to him, the current energy crisis which had reduced power generation to about 1,400 MW was avoidable and painful
He commended the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources for measures taken to resolve issues with the labour unions, to prevent the nationwide energy crisis from getting worse and reiterated the responsibility of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to provide gas for power needs to be consistently fulfilled in order to fire the nation’s power stations.
Prof. Nebo particularly appealed to oil and gas workers, including staff of the Nigerian Gas Company, to speedily work towards clearing the backlog of gas supplies to power plants, in order to alleviate the excruciating pains on Nigerians, and the overall effect of the just-ended strike action on the nation’s economy and other human endeavors.
The Minister said it had become necessary to draw the attention of Nigerians to the fact that the strike by both senior and junior staff unions of the NNPC, (NUPENG and PENGASSIN) had resulted in the shutdown of major gas plants including UTOROGU, CHEVRON OREDO, and OBEN in the western axis, while UGHELLI and CNL ESCRAVOS are all isolated already.
This and the shut down of Shell Gas, ALAKIRI on the eastern axis, he explained, had caused several power plants to become stranded and compelled to shut down.These include EGBIN, OLORUNSHOGO I & 11, OMOTOSHO 1& 11, GEREGU I & 11, IHONVOR and SAPELE (NIPP) on the western axis and ALAOJI on the eastern end.
According to the Minister, the overall effect of the workers’ action was that power supply, which had started picking up at the beginning of last week, following repairs of various vandalized portions of the Trans-Forcados Pipeline had fallen to all-time-unprecedented low, making life unbearable for Nigerians.
He reiterated that the reforms implemented recently in the power sector had given the nation a generation capacity of 5,500mw and a transmission capacity of up to 6,000mw, excluding embedded power and solar-generated energy from public and private sector – driven initiatives.
Prof. Nebo expressed confidence in the ability of the incoming administration to address the current grievances of the workers and other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, and urged them to patiently wait for that to happen.