The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, Sunday said the vandalised eastern axis gas pipeline network, which led to severe leaks in the gas supply channel and drop in nationwide power supply would this week be accessed and repair works initiated.
Nebo, who decried the severe effects of asset vandalism on Nigeria’s power sector, explained that the gas supply shortage to some power plants and its resultant drop in nationwide power supply to about 2,628.6 megawatts (MW) was expected to be fixed by a combined team of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry experts drawn from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Shell Producing Company of Nigeria (SPDC).
The minister, who spoke over the phone to THISDAY in Abuja, stated that the availability of gas for supply to thermal generation companies in the country was not so much an issue at this time but vandalism of key gas transportation assets.
He noted that the repairs work is expected to help ease off the gas supply challenges within the “next couple of months”, adding that without sustainable gas supply, generation of electricity for distribution across the country could be quite difficult.
“It is an unfortunate development; we had issues with gas supply from the western
supply axis and were still fixing it when the eastern axis went out on Friday as a result of vandalism and leaks from the pipeline. We cannot generate power, when we don’t have gas going to the power plants.
“Right now, availability of gas is not so much an issue because we have assurance that supply will be improved on once work on the Escravo axis is completed but our major challenge now is vandalism of these key gas transportation assets,” he said.
Nebo explained that: “We have called in a combined team of industry experts from the NNPC, DPR and Shell to begin from tomorrow to access and rectify the situation, it would have started immediately but as you know the holiday had its effects as well but work will start in earnest and all these will ease off in the next couple of months.”
He had explained in a statement on Saturday, that the country’s current grid generation challenges was as a result of low gas supply to power generation plants around the eastern gas supply axis.
According to him, three power stations in the east; Afam IV, Afam VI, and the Rivers Independent Power Plant (IPP), were shut down again on Friday night, as a result of gas constraints arising from condensate issue on Trans National Pipeline (TNP) putting total generation lost from the stations at 624MW.
Olorunsogo power station as well went down due to low gas pressure thus, resulting in the loss of 89MW of power from it, while low head water elevation is also limiting generation at Kainji and Jebba hydro stations to just one unit each.
These collectively meant that the total available generated power for distribution the country as at 6 a.m. on Saturday was 2628.6MW and management of the grid, Nebo said was currently a big task, necessitating nationwide load shedding.
Information from This Day was used in this report.