Osinbajo, experts list reasons outages may persist
‘Nigeria currently generates 4,000mw’
With the availability of 185 trillion cubic feet gas reserve, which puts Nigeria in the seventh position within the largest gas deposit countries in the world, electricity will continue to be erratic because there are no gas infrastructure, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the opening of the ninth Nigerian Association for Energy Economics (NAEE) conference, Osinbajo said Nigeria does not have the capacity to fire gas plant up to 7,000 megawatts.
He said: “It is worth reiterating here that Nigeria has natural gas reserve of over 185 trillion cubic feet, one of the largest in the world. Despite these huge resources, we still face huge energy supply problems. In fact, it is an irony that we do not have sufficient gas to fire our power plants up to 7,000 megawatts, yet in energy industry circle, Nigeria is described as more a gas territory that an oil territory.”
The Vice President, who was represented by his Special Assistant on Power, Privatisation, Chiedu Ugbo, lamented that while Nigeria has over 12,500 megawatts of installed electricity generating capacity, only about 7,000 of this is available when all equation is equal.
According to him, more damning is the fact that less than 4,000 megawatts are readily available to end-users in the last two weeks.
Vice President Osinbajo said: “From the system operators’ report, the average energy generated and sent out for distribution to end-users in the past two weeks was less than 4,000 megawatts due largely to gas constraints. We have limited gas molecules to supply to the power plants. This is as a result of many years of under-investment in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption and also many years of gas flaring.”
He also hinted that Nigeria alone currently flares about half of 40 billion cubic meters of associated gas estimated to be flared in Africa yearly.”
On his part, a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Odein Ajumogobia, said the low oil price gives Nigeria an opportunity to deploy its gas resources for industrialisation.
His words: “Nigeria has focused so much on petroleum and not on gas. The only gas component we have dealt with is the liquefied natural gas, which we also export. I am suggesting that we must now focus on our gas resources because that is the only way we can create massive employment for the teeming population of the unemployed people.”
Ajumogobia stressed that deploying gas for industrialisation is more than showing the political will by the present government.
Speaking in the same vein, President of NAEE, Prof. Wumi Iledare, said Nigeria must seize the momentum now that the price of crude is low to chart a new beginning for its industrial growth.