*As Sapele power station is shuts down
13 February 2012, Sweetcrude, SAPELE – An unexpected failure of the gas pipeline that feeds the 240-megawatts (mw) Sapele Power Station has forced a shut down of the power plant, pushing national power generation down to 3,900mw.
National power generation had hit 4,000mw few weeks ago, with Power Minister, Prof Barth Nnaji, expessing hope that electricity output would continue to climb from there.
Mr. Saidu Mohammed, Managing Director of Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) – a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – disclosed news of the leaking pipeline.
He stated that there was enough gas to supply the Sapele Power Station, but maintained that the leak detected on the gas delivery line had forced a shut down of the pipeline for repairs.
He said excavation of the failed portion of the pipeline will begin today and that new lines would be put in place to handle gas supply to the Sapele Power Station.
Mr. James Olotu, Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company, operators of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), confirmed, Sunday, that the Sapele Power Station has been shut due to lack of gas to fire the two units of the plant.
He said: “It is not that the NGC is sabotaging us; it is just that people have been vandalising the lines. This frequent shut down of the station due to inadequate gas supply damages the engines.
“When you shut down and restart, you are damaging the machines. When you shut down, you will have to wait for about three days for the engines to cool down before you restart the engines. Power is available now but there is no gas to fire the machines.”