June 8, 2009

Power projects 75 % ready —Govt

By Daniel Idonor
ABUJA—THE National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), sites across the country, are at 75 per cent completion stage.

The Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan-led Presiden-tial Steering Council on the Completion of NIPP,  said  yesterday after its sixth meeting.

The committee said the declaration was after a comprehensive but segmented tour of all NIPP sites across the country.

The committee, however, observed that though electricity generation was the key element providing Nigerians with adequate and uninterrupted electric power supply, transmission was also very crucial as the product cannot be enjoyed by the citizenry unless it is transmitted and distributed to homes.

The cooperation and full support of the host communities, the taskforce noted, had become very important  to achieve government target.

It lamented that recent events across the sites visited showed that there were challenges facing government resulting from lack of cooperation from land owners along transmission lines.

The committee added that equipment for the jobs are 100 per cent and general work 75 per cent completed while  civil work alone in all the sites visited was put at 50 per cent.

It assured that as promised by President Umaru  Yar’Adua that the country will achieve 6000 megawatts of electricity generation by December 2009, Nigeria is on course towards revamping the nation’s energy sub-sector.

The Council also announced a current electricity generation capacity of 4,500 megawatts in the country but lamented that only 2,000 megawatts is currently being transmitted and distributed because of constraints thrown up by inadequate gas supply, pipeline vandalism resulting in inferior quality of gas as well as security concerns.

Governors Namadi Sambo (Kaduna), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta) and the Minister of State for Power, Alhaji Nuhu Way, briefed State House Correspondents after the council meeting, which had six governors from the six geo-political zones, and key related ministers as members.

Said Sambo: “You will recall that we divided ourselves into four groups and we have gone round all the power project sites at Calabar, Sapele, Egbema, Papalanto Omotosho, Omoko and Egbenema power plants.

”It is with pleasure that I inform you that the average completion stage of all the power plants across the country is as at today 75 per cent completion,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sambo has appealed to the host communities to cooperate with the contractors handling the transmission lines for the NIPP so that transmission lines could be erected along the routes to guarantee that generated power reached the end users.

According Sambo who declined to name the involved communities, the council members toured power projects in Calabar, Sapele, Papalanto, Egbema, Omotosho,; He stressed that the major challenges being faced right now are in the area of continued cooperation from the host communities.

He said “I must seize this opportunity to call on those communities that have the privilege of hosting these projects to continue to give their full cooperation particularly in the area of the transmission lines where we are having challenges with the communities”.

Asked if the host governors were cooperating with the council, he said “governors are taking all the necessary responsibility that is needed in all aspect like security, land area. It is not all the project sites that we have some problems but few of them with the transmission access and this is why we are calling on those communities to cooperate and allow these projects to continue. We don’t have problems with issues of compensations or whatever”.

Gov Uduaghan Speaks on Gas Supply

Also speaking on the gas supply to the turbines being built as a key element of adequate powere supply, Governor Uduaghan said there are two issues as far as the supply of gas is concern to the various plants.

Said he: “One is the quality of the gas. Most of the plants are suppose to be using dry gas but sometimes we have problems with the gas that is being supplied, it may be wet. I can tell you categorically that the Otorogun gas plant comes out with wet gas and that gas contains condensate and it is because of the condensate that vandals attack the pipeline to be able to get condensate. The second problem is the issue of security for the pipeline. Because of the presence of condensate in many of the pipelines people vandalise the pipelines, so how do we secure the pipeline”.

According to him, “just before the last crisis in the Niger Delta there has been discussion with JTF and Shell to start securing the pipelines coming from Otorogun to most of these plants. Because of these plants the manpower of the JTF was concentrated on the area where there was crisis. But we have promised that more men will be mobilized and adequate security for the pipeline”.

Once that happens, he said, “that gas especially the one to that old power plant in Sapele the gas will go there and that power plant will start again. Right now it is not producing power because there is no gas to it and once it starts getting gas it will increase the megawatt. So we have two problems quality of the gas and security of the pipelines”.