ABUJA – The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo has reassured Nigerians that the country is on the verge of meeting its gas production target, especially with regards to domestic supply to power the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).
Barkindo gave this assurance during a facility tour of the Okoloma Gas Plant and Afam Integrated Gas and Power Plant both in Rivers State , and the Oben Gas Plant in Edo State .
The NNPC boss who described the projects as central to the realization of the administration’s pledge to generate 6000 megawatts of electricity by the end of this year said in spite of the initial security challenges posed by the activities of militants, the projects have reached advanced stages, expressing optimism that the current peace brought about by the presidential amnesty to the militants would help to speed up their completion and commissioning. |
He also allayed fears that the 360mw- capacity Geregu Power Plant would soon be shut down for maintenance and upgrade, explaining that an alternative that would not involve the shut-down of the plant was being worked out.
At the Okoloma Gas Plant which is operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, the Project Manager Engineer Toyin Olagunju who briefed Barkindo on the how far work had gone on the project revealed that the plant was currently producing 240mscf of gas per day and that the major problem facing the project was that of how to evacuate the gas.
He, however, explained that 90mscf of its daily production was being fed to the Afam Integrated Power Plant where it is used to power three of the turbines at the power plant, otherwise known as Afam VI, also operated by SPDC.
A bulk of the gas produced at the plant, according to him, was meant to be supplied to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to power the Afam I – V power plants which are currently not working, adding that he has received assurance that the plants would commence operation again by December.
At the Afam Integrated Power Plant, the Project Manager, Leonard Keen, explained that the plant which has a total capacity of 650mw was currently generating 450mw.
Keen further explained that the second phase of the project was presently being test run as the heat from the three running turbines was being used to power the steam turbines to generate the remaining 200mw.
According to the project engineer, the project (Afam VI) would be ready for commissioning before the end of the year.
While briefing the press at the end of the inspection tour of the Okoloma Gas Plant and the Afam Integrated Power Plant, Barkindo said he would be very happy to have President Umaru Yar’Adua around for the commissioning of the power plant.
At the Oben Gas Plant, the NNPC GMD said he came on the inspection tour to enable him understand the challenges the project was facing so as to find ways of working round them to ensure adequate supply of gas on the domestic front and to meet Nigeria’s export obligation.
He said the electric power challenge being experienced in the country was as a result of years of successive administrations failing to recognize the critical role of the gas in the energy equation.
He said the Yar’Adua administration was the first to take very decisive steps to bridge the disconnect that had existed between gas and power, and that it was ready to do anything to ensure that it meets target in gas and power production.
The Project Manager of the Oben Gas Plant, Mrs Chidube Nnene-Anochie cited vandalism of pipelines as one of the major challenges that impedes the evacuation of gas to Sapele and Escravos.
She, however, acknowledged that the situation had improved lately, and that repairs of the leakages on the Escravos pipeline would be fixed soon.
Following that report, Barkindo expressed optimism that 2010 would see much improvement in gas and power production as result of the amnesty. He urged Nigerians not to lose hope as their patience over the years was beginning to yield meaningful dividend.