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The Lack Of Gas To Generate Electricity

Posted: May 1, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)





Vice-President Prof Yemi Osinbajo recently attributed Nigeria’s inability to generate up to 7,000 megawatts of electricity to inadequate supply of gas to fire the power plants.


Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant (Power and Privatisation), Chiedu Ugbo, at the  just-concluded Nigerian Association for Energy Environment /International Association for Energy Economics Annual Conference in Abuja, Osinbajo reportedly lamented again that in spite of Nigeria’s huge natural gas reserves of over 185 trillion cubic feet, the country is still encountering enormous energy supply difficulties. We observed that over the years, successive administrating in Nigeria with dismay were fond of lamenting over the inadequate supply of gas to drive power plant without finding lasting solution to the reoccurring problems.


It is worrisome that having been in office for 11months, Osinbajo who heads the President Mohammadu Buhari led federal Government’s National Economic Team is still lamenting over the well-known problem instead of disclosing result-oriented measures government has put in place to ensure the power plants get adequate supply of gas for hitch- free operations.


It appears government does not realize that consistent supply of gas to the existing power plants is highly critical to regular and sustainable supply of electricity across the country. Since assumption of office six months ago, the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, had also repeatedly lamented that acute shortage of gas, amongst others, are factors responsible for the lingering deplorable electricity supply throughout the country. Frankly, by now the era of lamentations over lack of gas to generate electricity should be over. Those in-charges should henceforth embark on steps that could lead to ending the problem of insufficient supply of gas for the electricity generation.


It is absurd that a country such as Nigeria that is endowed with bountiful natural gas reserves currently put at over 185 trillion cubic feet is continuously experiencing problem of limited gas molecules for the power plants to operate smoothly.


Does Nigeria, after 56 years of independence, have a Gas Policy or a Gas Master Plan? If there is one in place, what has happened to it? Is it just there on the shelf gathering dust as usual?


There is no doubt that failure of past administrations to take advantage of Nigeria’s enviable massive natural gas reserves, is largely responsible for the steady poor performance of the gas sector. Due to planlessness and large scale corruption in the oil industry over the years, gas producers have consistently failed to meet the over-increasing requirements of the existing turbines, amongst which are the Independent Power Projects (IPPS), the MIPPS and the government pipelines.


Nigeria is believed to be more of a gas territory than oil territory but in spite of this uncommon advantage, successive administrations had paid lip service to all important sector. This is why the present administration should learn the mistakes of the past by urgently fixing the problem of inadequate supply of gas.


Adequate supply of gas to power plants will not only enhance sustainable generation of electricity for socio-economic and industrial growth, it would substantially aid Nigeria’s chances of being ranked among the most leading 20 economies in the world by 2020.


We strongly condemn the situation in which power plants are located for away from where gas resources richly abound. At this age of rapid economic growth and industrial development globally, it is more advantageous to establish a power plant in a place that is richly endowed with gas reserves.


There is no justification for establishing power plants without finding out if there would be adequate supply of gas to successfully drive them for maximum performance.


We recall that efforts by past administrations to end the flaring of gas to ensure increased natural gas reserves were unsuccessful. Those concerned always shifted the goal post by agreeing with the other parties to extend the deadlines. We implore the present administration to muster the political will by compelling the major oil firms to accord the issue of ending gas flaring urgent attention. All parties should agree on a new deadline and ensure strict compliance this time around.


It is disturbing that electricity supply across the country has assumed an endemic proportion. Since it is affecting domestic and industrial consumption, economic activities have virtually come to a standstill across the country.


We therefore urge government to increase its investments in the gas sector to ensure adequate supply of gas to power plants for them to generate enough electricity for national growth and development.