21 November 2011, Sweetcrude, LAGOS — Nigeria plans to build new gas pipelines that will feed its electricity plants. It is a measure aimed at ending the constant cut in gas supply to the plants and boosting electricity generation in the country.
Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, who disclosed this in Lagos at the weekend said modalities for laying of the new pipelines were being worked out with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
The minister regretted that many of the power plants built under the National Integrated Power Supply (NIPP) were being starved of gas, accounting for their low outputs.
He said: “The issue of gas is something we have discussed seriously with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and we have agreed to build a second pipeline to transport gas to these NIPP plants.”
He said gas challenges had affected the firing of the Olorunshogo Plant 1 and 2, where some of the units are down due to gas shortages.
Reminded that the government could have dedicated gas for the power plants, as with the nation’s four refineries which have dedicated crude oil, he argued that supply was not the only issue affecting the plants, as there were others relating to infrastructure availability.
He said: “The whole issue is not only about supply, there are several other issues like the availability of gas. Yes, we have gas in the ground, but we don’t have enough for domestic needs due to infrastructure challenges. Sometimes we don’t have enough gas gathering facilities, other times we don’t have enough storage facilities, and these infrastructures re very expensive.
“Also, there is the bigger issue of vandalism, even when the gas is available, it is a problem to transport them because the pipelines have been vandalised. Currently, we are losing about 80 million standard cubic feet of gas per day as a result of pipeline vandalism.”
Against this backdrop, Nnaji disclosed that government was exploring alternative sources of power like reinitiating the use of coal for power, while in Katsina there is already 10 Megawatts (MW) wind farm as well as various solar projects scattered around the country.
He said that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is currently developing tariff structures for them, as they are not captured under existing structure.