Monday, April 21, 2014

Nigeria’s largest NIPP power plant to be launched in March

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The Calabar plant can add 563 megawatt to the national grid

A major federal government power plant will be launched in less than two months, a top official said.

The Niger Delta Power Holding Company said the National Integrated Power Project, NIPP, in Ikot Nyong, near Calabar, will commence power generating operations, in 2013.

The facility, the biggest of all the NIPP projects in the country, has the capacity to add extra 563 megawatt of electricity the Nigeria’s fledgling power generation. The station has five gas turbines with about 112.5 megawatts rating each.

The Site Manager of the Calabar NIPP, Paul Akinola, said efforts were being made for the facility to be inaugurated before the end of March, 2013. Work began at the plant in 2006.

Initial completion timeline of four years was delayed by technical and financial troubles. The completion effort is now being fast-tracked, Mr. Akinola.

Mr. Akinola said to be able to inaugurate the facility within the first quarter of the year gas would have to be sourced from United Cement Company, UNICEM, in Calabar.

“The challenges impaired progress of work but we are working on an alternative arrangement to fast-track the project now,” he said. “We need gas to do that and we will probably tap from the gas pipe that leads to UNICEM.”

If the first quarter projection fails, the plant will be unveiled early second quarter of the year, he said.

He expressed optimism that the project would be fully operational this year, noting that all the other NIPP projects in the country, including the one at Sapele, had begun operation.

“As a matter of fact, this Calabar NIPP is supposed to be the first one to work. It is the biggest of all the NIPP projects nationwide,’’ Mr. Akinola said.

He explained that the gas component of the project was more than 50 per cent completed “but we cannot wait for it to inaugurate the project and that is the reason we are trying to source gas from UNICEM pipe”.

He also said that water was another challenge to the project, saying that the terrain where the NIPP was located was difficult to sink boreholes.

“In the contact, there are supposed to be three or four boreholes. When we started digging, we saw that it is a very rocky area; the rocks here cannot retain water because it is igneous and swampy, too,” the manager said.

Water is another challenge affecting the plant. Mr. Akinola said that is sourced from the Water Board. “We need about 100 cubic metres per day, and we have an arrangement for them to pipe to us from their facility at Odukpani Junction.”

(NAN)

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