…Says company remains leading electricity sector financier in Nigeria
Oscarline Onwuemenyi 15 May 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, NDPHC, Mr. James Olotu has lamented that persistent disruption of pipelines that supply gas to integrated power plants has left the plants dormant for the past two years.Meanwhile, the NDPHC has been adjudged the leading investor in the nation’s electricity industry after having invested a sum of about $5 billion (about N1 trillion) in building 10 electricity generation plants, several kilometres of transmission lines and distribution facilities across Nigeria, Olotu stated.
NDPHC which undertakes electricity projects on behalf of the three tiers of government under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) is said to have also built several stretches of gas pipelines linking its power plants to gas production points and thus generating about 2,600 megawatts (MW) of the country’s acclaimed 5,500MW generation capacity.
The Managing Director, who represented by the Associate Head for Generation, NDPHC, Mr. Onuoha Igwe, spoke in Abuja at a forum organised for power generation companies operating in the country, stated that the disruption of the gas supply through constant vandalism had made the turbines in the various power plants idle.
He said, “When the gas turbines are not running, you cannot have power. But any moment that gas supply is sustained, all the power plants will come alive.
“Take for instance, the NDPHC has plants in Olorunsogo, Omotoso, Ibobo, Geregu and Sapele; now, if the gas pipelines in the Niger Delta area and the South-West are disrupted, it means there will be no gas to sustain the power plants in that regions.
“As of last week, those plants were only running at one unit each. Take Olorunsogo that has the capacity to generate up to 600 megawatts as an example, just one gas turbine is running; this means that the plant is limited to about 170 megawatts.
“Therefore, what we’ve been having in the last one year is this persistent damage of the gas pipelines, making it impossible for the generation assets already built to generate power. The power plants are available but they are sitting idle.”
Olotu explained that of the company’s 10 plants, seven were currently running although at much reduced capacities, while three were at different levels of being completed.
“At the moment, we have Calabar, Olorunsogo, Omotosho, Sapele and Geregu power plants on the grid,” he said.
Olotu further explained why the power plants were not sited close to gas sources, noting that, “The ones that were built next to gas facilities are the ones in Gbarain, Omoku and Egbema. As against the power plants that are currently running in the grid, none of those three is running. The other ones that are under the NDPHC are the ones that are away from these major gas sources.”
On its efforts to upgrade Nigeria’s weak electricity transmission system, he noted that the hitherto abandoned long stretch of the eastern transmission loop which extends from Afam in Rivers State to Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State, Ugwuaji in Enugu State, Markurdi in Benue State and then Jos in Plateau States will be completed by July. However, work on two ends of the loop has been completed.