Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday revealed why most parts of the country experienced total blackout last weekend as he declared that 99.6 per cent of the total electricity generation was lost in one day.
Specifically, Osinbajo stated that 3,132 megawatts of the total electricity generated on Saturday, April 23, 2016 was lost.
The loss was against a total energy of 3,144MW that was generated on Friday, according to data obtained from the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
Hence, the country lost 99.62 per cent of the total energy it generated in just one day, a development that led to the collapse of the power grid as confirmed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria on Sunday.
Outlining some of the reasons for the huge loss in power generation, the vice president stated that gas constraints, pipelines vandalism and inadequate infrastructure to transport available gas to the power plants were major challenges confronting Nigeria’s power sector.
Osinbajo said these in Abuja at the 9th conference of the Nigerian Association for Energy Economics/International Association for Energy Economics.
The vice president, who’s keynote address was read by his Senior Special Assistant on Power Privatisation, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo, said, “There is also the challenge of inadequate infrastructure to transport the available gas to the power plants due to lack of investments in gas transport infrastructure, and vandalisation of existing infrastructure.
“On or about February 14, 2016, a portion of Shell’s Forcados Export Terminal pipeline got ruptured just about the same time vandals destroyed a portion of the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System. These seriously affected gas supply to many power plants in the western axis like Ughelli, Egbin, Omotosho I, Olorunsogo I, Omotosho NIPP and Olorunsogo NIPP.
“The reported gas constraint to electricity generation as of April 23, 2016 alone was about 3,132MW.”
Osinbajo, however, stated that it was an irony that Nigeria did not have sufficient gas to fire its power plants to produce up to 7,000MW of electricity, but that in the energy industry, the country was being described more as a gas territory than an oil territory.
This, according to him, is because the country has huge natural gas reserves of over 185 trillion cubic feet, which is one of the largest in the world.
“We have limited gas molecules to supply to the power plants. This is as a result of many years of underinvestment in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption, and so many years of gas flaring. Nigeria alone flares about half of the 40 billion cubic metres of associated gas estimated to be flared in Africa annually,” he added.
The vice president assured participants at the event that the government was working tirelessly to resolve the gas-to-power challenges by ensuring that the needed investments would be made in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption.
He also noted that the government had reopened some gas processing facilities previously shut down due to the rupture at Shell’s Forcados Export Terminal.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Odein Ajumogobia, said Nigeria must now focus on developing its vast gas resources, considering the fact that the country’s revenue from crude oil sales had been badly hit by the plunge in crude prices globally.
The President, NAEE, Prof. Wumi Iledare, urged the government to desist from subsidising petroleum products and noted that the conference was poised to discuss the energy supply options for energising emerging economies like Nigeria.