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Inadequate gas threatens electricity supply – Expert

By George Onah
Port  Harcourt—The inadequate supply of gas to the thermal power stations in the country, representing more than 85 percent of the national electricity generation output, is capable of undermining the massive investment on generation, transmission and distribution facilities, an economist, Mr. Friday Udoh, has said.

Udoh, who is an expert on gas supply chain, said the Federal Government’s handicap in this direction was on the verge of derailing the realization of the government’s target of 6000MW electricity generation capacity within the next two months as it promised.

Speaking to Vanguard in Port Harcourt yesterday, Udoh linked the inability of the Ministry of Power in improving the situation to the absence of coordination of functions among ministries, agencies and various tiers of government as well as ineffective deployment and application of measuring mechanism in the country’s policy framework.

He said several technology had been introduced for gas storage, such that Ukraine has  93.64 Bcf. storage working capacity, with anticipated facility expansion in  meeting the  official energy strategy storage capacity target of  247.35 Bcf. by the year 2030.

“Also, France has available working capacity of 406.36Bcf, Germany 685 Bcf. and U.K 155.47 Bcf. Equally, the United State of America possesses 139Bcf. with capacity of 8.644 Bcf/d deliveries.

“If these nations can have so much in preparation for any unforeseen occurrences, why can’t we start from somewhere in securing our future gas supply needs.

“Within our proliferating, politicised and weak institutions and regulatory environment, it is not out of place to experience insecurity in supply of natural gas in the country, coupled with unbalanced and non-reflection of experts and stakeholders’ opinions on various decision-making structures in the country.

“We stand to experience long term negative effect, especially as the country is opting for separate regulatory entities within the same sector. Except the government collapses the existing regulatory functions into a single regulatory organ shall we have solution,

“This is similar to the American and Spanish practices where power generation and hydrocarbon industries are regulated by a single entity, that is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the Americans and the National Energy Commission for the Spanish,” he said.

The economists  said the precarious situation would have been averted and should not have degenerated to this extent had the bill to unbundle the Nigerian Gas Company, subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,  been given adequate attention since its introduction in 2006.

“Right now, international oil companies extracting gas, NGC and NNPC are answerable to the Minister of Energy, then what miracle do we expect of the Minister of Power to perform, when there exists virtually no coordinating structure on ground among the two ministries?   And it must be understood that gas and power cannot be separated,” he said.


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