Nigerians to experience more darkness as electricity generation drops

Two gas plants in Delta State were shut down.

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The electricity supply in most parts of the country will reduce further from Tuesday with the announcement by the Federal Government of a drop of about 1,000 megawatts, MW following the closure of the Utorogu and Ughelli East gas plants in Delta State.

Utorogu and Ughelli East gas plants, owned by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC joint venture, JV, produces between 120 and 300 million standard cubic feet per day of gas, MMSCF/D. The two facilities also account for a combined capacity of about 700 MW of electricity generated into the national grid.

With this development, the country’s electricity generation capacity, which averaged about 3,674 MW in recent weeks, would drop further by another 1000 MW. The operations of a number power generation plants sourcing natural gas from the two gas plants, including Egbin and Omotosho, were affected.

Egbin power plant, reputed to be one of the largest in the country, has an installed capacity of about 1,320MW, but hardly operates at average capacity of about 550MW.

The twin plant of Omotoso I and Omotoso II power stations, with combined capacity of about 600MW, has not been performing any better, with a combined generation capacity of less than 250MW.

The generation capacity of other power stations affected by the closure of the gas plants stands at about 300MW.

The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, said the closure of the two gas plants would be for about 20 days to enable government carry out proper routine repairs and maintenance of the component units.

The Minister in a letter to the affected companies said the closure of the gas plants would likely impact the overall output of power generation stations depending on these plants for gas supplies.

“I am publicising the planned closure for maintenance by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation, NPDC (the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC upstream subsidiary) of its Utorogu and Ughelli East gas plants. This will no doubt have an impact on the output of the power stations fed by these gas plants, which include Egbin and Omotosho,” the Minister said.

The plants, according to him, would be shut for short periods on different dates, and would result in temporary loss of available generated electricity. The maintenance work is expected to be completed around June 22.

While expressing regrets over the development, the Minister assured consumers that the situation would not be allowed to last longer than the period necessary for the maintenance and re-commissioning of the facilities.

He said all technical experts have been adequately mobilised to work to ensure that available power was distributed in a manner to minimise inconvenience to consumers nationwide.

Adequate power supply, Mr. Nebo said, remained government’s focal point. He added that priority attention would constantly be given to the facilities to ensure that the resources spent met the yearnings of Nigerians and investors.

At the completion of the scheduled maintenance and upgrade of the facilities, the minister said, gas production and quality of supply to the plants would improve tremendously, to boost the output of the affected power plants and generated power to Nigerians.

The two gas plants were shut down around the same time in 2011 to allow for the repair of leaks on the pipelines suspected to have been caused by vandals.

The maintenance of Ughelli gas plant, which feeds Ughelli power plant, would enhance plans by Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, Transcorp, the new owners, to increase power generation from the asset from the current level of about 200 MW to 1,000MW within the next three to five years.


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