Friday, August 14, 2009

Nigerians face more electricity blackouts as Militants Blow Up Gas Plant

Suspected militants blew up the Utorogu Gas Plant in Delta state yesterday. This latest incident has caused a set-back in the current amnesty deal between Nigerian militants in the Niger Delta and the Nigerian government and has also worsened Nigeria's capability of producing electricity.

The Utorogu Gas Plant operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company supplied 300mm standard cubic feet of gas which was equivalent to 1,000 megawatts of electricity. Now that the plant has been shut down, power generation in Nigeria has dropped to 1,400 megawatts while the country needs about 6000 megawatts for stable power supply.

The Egbin plant in Lagos has also been affected by this latest incident. The plant which is capable of producing 1,320 megawatts had actually been producing just close to 600 megawatts, but will now lose about 400 megawatts due to the what happened to the Utorogu Gas Plant.

The Utorogu Gas plant and Chevron's Escravos Gas plant are the two major sources of gas supply to the Nigerian Gas Company which supplies gas to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria for the generation of electricity across the country.

The goal put in place by the Nigerian government to increase Nigeria's electricity supply to 6000 megwatts by the end of the year is now unattainable.

The Power Ministry Spokesperson, Mrs. Olubunmi Badejo, who confirmed the attacks said the incident may lead to a drop in generation capacity by about 1,000mw:

"Nigeria currently generates between 2,200 and 2,400mw, but this ugly development, which affected the only major source of gas, means a further reduction in generating capacity.

"The Utorogu gas plant in Warri was blasted in the early hours of today (yesterday). The plant was shut down at 04:12 hours. Our team in the company of the Joint Task Force has gone to assess the damage to proffer fastest repair options. The ministry will keep you informed about further developments," She said.

The General Manager of Public Affairs at the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, Mrs. Efuru Igbo, said the incident would result in about 500mw reduction from the current generating capacity. She released this statement:

"The Management of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria regrets to inform the general public that just as the nation had started recording improvement in the supply of electricity, it received notice from the Nigerian Gas Company on Thursday, 13th August 2009 to further reduce output from the Egbin Power Station. According to NGC, this was caused by vandalism of the Utorogu pipeline, which supplies gas to the Egbin Power Station.

"The disruption means a further reduction in generation capacity from the station of about 500 megwatts. It is on record that due to gas supply limitation. Sapele Power Station has been shut down since November 2008, while Geregu, Omotosho and Olosunsogo Power Stations are similarly affected. In the circumstance, we are appealing to our esteemed customers, the media and other stakeholders for understanding and continued support as the NGC has assured us of immediate repairs. We promise to keep you informed of further developments and assure of our determination for a sustainable power supply to the nation."

This Day

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