By Hector Igbikiowubo
THE Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) operated Joint Venture produced a total of 512 million standard cubic feet of gas (MMscf/d) in Western Niger Delta on November 18, 2009 representing the highest volume achieved in the last two years.
Even though the record gas production represents a boost for increased power generation, indications are that this may not be the case.
This was contained in a statement released in Lagos by Tony Okonedo, the companyâ€™s Corporate Media Relations Manager.
Although the gas goes into the domestic gas network for national power generation and manufacturing industries, Vanguard checks could not ascertain if this was the case at the time of filing this report.
Prior to this time, average gas production from SPDCâ€™s Western operations had been 300MMscf/d.
â€œThe latest achievement consolidates our position as Nigeriaâ€™s leading gas producer. What is more, this has been done safely, without harm to people and the environment. We are pleased that all the gas has been used for domestic power generation and manufacturing, as these are key sectors for national economic growth,â€ SPDC MD Mutiu Sunmonu, said.
The SPDC Joint Venture achieved the record production from four gas plants _ Utorogu, Oben, Sapele and Ughelli East. Sapele and Oben had been shut in since late last year because of attacks on the pipeline infrastructure. With the repair of the pipelines this year, the two gas plants have since resumed production.
At Utorogu, SPDC Joint Venture executed engineering and production optimisation activities including capacity upgrade and focused gas wells deliverability tests which enabled the facility to increase output and improve gas quality.
Operations Manager, Land West Chidube Nnene_Anochie said the feat was achieved through integrated efforts of Operations/Maintenance and multi_disciplinary support teams (Development, Wells, Engineering, HSE, Finance, Contracting, Pipelines), adding: â€˜we are all committed to sustaining the tempoâ€™.
The SPDC Joint Venture pioneered domestic utilisation of natural gas in Nigeria in the 1960s via supply to industries in the Port Harcourt and Trans_Amadi and Aba areas, and remained the only supplier of gas to the domestic market until about 1998. Over the past few years, the SPDC Joint Venture has been producing on average about two thirds of Nigeriaâ€™s total domestic gas volumes mainly for power generation.
In October 2008, the SPDC Joint Venture brought on stream the 240MMscf/d-capacity Okoloma Gas Plant in the Eastern Niger Delta that has been supplying gas to Afam power plant. Afam power plant achieved 442MW in July 2009.
Although gas production which was impacted by militancy in the Niger Delta has continued to rise since most militants in the area accepted amnesty, Vanguard checks revealed that the power generating plants of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are beset by a myriad of problems.
Efforts to reach Dr. Lanre babalola, the Power minister proved abortive at the time of filing this report.
Similarly, efforts to reach the Managing Director of PHCN proved abortive as Vanguard was told he had proceeded on lesser hajj in Mecca.