By Emmanuel Marculay
There seems to be a deliberate effort on the part of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to increase gas supply to electricity generation plants across the country to ensure improved power supply to consumers.
To this end, the Corporation said the volume of domestic gas supply to fire electricity generating plants across the country in the first four months of 2021 (January to April) rose significantly by 516 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) to 4,095mmscfd.
This figure translates to 12.6 per cent increase when compared to 3,579 mmscfd recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
These data were obtained from the NNPC Financial and Operations Report for the month of April, 2021.
A breakdown of the data revealed that a total of 836 mmscfd was delivered to gas- fired power plants to generate an average power of about 3,415 mega watts of electricity in January, 2021, against 640 mmscfd delivered to gas plants, with 2,683 M
W recorded in the corresponding period in 2020.
In February 2021, a total of 825 mmscfd was delivered to gas- fired power plants to generate an average power of about 3,580 mega watts of electricity, against 699 mmscfd delivered to gas plants, with 3,064 MW recorded at the corresponding month in 2020.
Also, in March 2021, a total of 844 mmscfd was delivered to gas& fired power plants to generate an average power of about 3,530 mega watts of electricity, against 661 mmscfd delivered to gas plants, with 2, 856 MW recorded in similar month in 2020.
However, in April 2021, a total of 795 mmscfd was delivered to gas- fired power plants to generate an average power of about 3,416 mega watts of electricity, against 788 mmscfd delivered to gas plants, with 2, 873 MW recorded in the comparing month of 2020.
The federal government had a couple of weeks ago, reduced gas to power price from $2.50 to $2.18.
President Muhammadu Buhari, said, “Following the successful negotiation between the Federal Government and the organized labour unions and the detailed review of the Gas pricing framework in Nigeria, the price of Gas to power has been reduced from $2.50 to $2.18 with Immediate effect.
“The outcome of the negotiation and reviews have been communicated to relevant stakeholders,” he stated.
Gas not Nigeria’s power problem
However, operators in the power sector have described as false statements blaming gas suppliers for power crisis.
Speaking to our reporter, the Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr. Joy Ogaji, said that Nigeria gas was sufficient to meet over 10,000mw generation.
“The problem associated with power crisis, is not a deliberate act of sabotage from the gas suppliers. The challenge has always been the gap in funding and Contractual Agreement. There is enough gas to generate over 10,000mw without disruption.
“These gas suppliers are business people and fund has to be given to get the product else, it wont be given.”
While describing gas supply constraints as one of the major challenges facing GENCOs and responsible for the drop in power generation, Ogaji said that this could be remedied by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation agreeing to supply 60 per cent of the gas needed by the GENCOs.
Ogaji said the move would enable the sector to achieve its vision of generating 30,000MW by 2030, with 3,000MW coming from renewables and 27,000MW from the power plants.
She, however, disclosed that current available capacity has dropped from about 9,000MW in 2020 to about 6,000MW.
According to her, this capacity is not being optimally utilised due to load rejection by electricity distribution companies for various reasons.
She added that only 25 out of 160 power generation companies (GenCos) licenced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission ( NERC) are currently operating in Nigeria.
She noted that data from the National Control Centre, Osogbo, showed that Nigeria’s energy demand was about 28,000MW while the current available power was about 6,000MW.
“NERC has issued 160 licences to power generation companies. Only 25 are operational currently. The other thermal stations are waiting on the sidelines and if they are actively involved, we can generate an additional 30,000MW.
“The 25 operational GENCOs have an installed capacity of about 13,000MW,” Ogaji said.
Meanwhile, the latest quarterly report of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) shows that gas supply shortage remains a troubling challenge in the sector.
“Gas continues to dominate the electricity generation mix accounting for 81.53 percent of the electricity generated during the second quarter of 2020. This implies that approximately 8.15kWh of every 10kWh of electric energy generated in Nigeria in the second quarter of 2020 came from gas,” the NERC report said.