By George Onah
PortÂ Harcourtâ€”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 Governmentâ€™s handicap in this direction was on the verge of derailing the realization of the governmentâ€™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 countryâ€™s policy framework.
He said several technology had been introduced for gas storage, such that Ukraine hasÂ 93.64 Bcf. storage working capacity, with anticipated facility expansion inÂ meeting theÂ official energy strategy storage capacity target ofÂ 247.35 Bcf. by the year 2030.
â€œAlso, 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.
â€œIf these nations can have so much in preparation for any unforeseen occurrences, why canâ€™t we start from somewhere in securing our future gas supply needs.
â€œWithin 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 stakeholdersâ€™ opinions on various decision-making structures in the country.
â€œWe 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,
â€œThis 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,â€ he said.
The economistsÂ 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,Â been given adequate attention since its introduction in 2006.
â€œRight 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?Â Â And it must be understood that gas and power cannot be separated,â€ he said.