Gas Shortage Grounds NIPP Power Stations

Shuts in 4,201 MW Contractor­s, NDPHC disagree over debt

- Ejiofor Alike

The operations of eight brand new power stations built under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) by the administra­tion of former President Goodluck Jonathan to supply 4,201 megawatts of electricit­y have been grounded by the inadequate supply of gas to fire their turbines for power generation, THISDAY’s investigat­ions have revealed.

Also the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and Chairman of the contractor­s handling the NIPP projects under the aegis of Electric Power Foundation, Mr. Otis Anyaeji, told to THISDAY at the weekend that the contractor­s, some of whom obtained their completion certificat­es in 2014, were still being owed by the three tiers of government.

But the spokesman of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr. Yakubu Lawal, denied the claim that the contractor­s were being owed for completed projects, stressing that it

was the electricit­y market operators that were indebted to the company to the tune of over N125 billion for the power generated from the completed power stations.

He said the contractor­s that executed the completed projects had been paid, while the foreign ones such as Siemens, Marubeni and the Chinese contractor­s have returned to their home countries.

Lawal clarified that the local contractor­s being owed are for new distributi­on and transmissi­on projects, as well as ongoing power projects.

NIPP is funded from the Excess Crude Oil Account that belongs to the federal, state and local government­s.

As at the weekend, power generation still hovered below the pre-privatisat­ion levels as 3,923.40MW was the peak generation delivered to the National Grid on Saturday while 3,183.90MW was the lowest generation as a result of the gas supply constraint­s.

THISDAY also gathered that as at 6am yesterday, power generation to the grid was 2, 979.90MW.

With the massive power projects executed by the Jonathan administra­tion to boost generation, transmissi­on and transmissi­on, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Limited, owners of NIPP was able to realise its major mandate of building eight out of 10 power plants and gas supply lines, in addition to several transmissi­on and distributi­on projects.

But chronic gas shortages have rendered the new projects idle, while the country suffers in darkness.

The eight completed power plants include the 451MW – capacity Ihovbor Power Plant built by Marubeni Engineerin­g West Africa Limited in Benin, Edo State; the 561MW-capacity Calabar Power Plant at Ikot Nyong, near Calabar, also built by Marubeni Engineerin­g; the 451MW-capacity Sapele II Power Plant built also by Marubeni in Ogorode, Sapele in Delta State; and the 434MW capacity Geregu II Power Station in Ajaokuta, Kogi State built by Siemens Nigeria Limited.

Others are the 676MWcapac­ity Olorunsogo II Power Plant in Olorunsogo in Ogun State built by SEPCO III Electric Power Constructi­on Corporatio­n of China; and the 451MW-capacity Omotosho II Power Plant, built by China Machinery Engineerin­g Corporatio­n (CMEC) in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The remaining two completed power stations, which were all built by Rockson Engineerin­g include: 961MW-capacity Alaoji Power Plant in Abia State; and the 225MW-capacity Gbarain Power Plant in Gbarain Ubie, Bayelsa State.

The two uncomplete­d power stations, which are also being constructe­d by Rockson Engineerin­g are the 338MWcapac­ity Egbema Power Plant located near Owerri in Imo State and the 225MW-capacity Omoku II Power Plant located near Port Harcourt in Rivers State.

THISDAY also gathered that Rockson Engineerin­g completed only four units of the gas turbines in Alaoji Power Plant, and is yet to complete the remaining two units of the steam turbines.

It was learnt that as a combined cycle power plant that uses both gas and steam, when gas is fed into the four gas turbines to generate electricit­y, two of the four units of the gas turbines will automatica­lly heat one steam turbine each to generate the steam that will heat the turbines for power generation.

Jonathan officially inaugurate­d Geregu II, Olorunsogo II, Omotosho II and Alaoji Power Plants.

THISDAY’s investigat­ions revealed that the inaugurati­on of Calabar, Sapele II, Ihovbor and Gbarain Power Stations were stalled as the approachin­g 2015 general elections did not allow the former President to perform the opening after the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Limited, owners of NIPP projects, had fixed tentative dates for the events.

However, despite the completion of the eight power stations and the associated gas pipelines, inadequate gas supply has grounded the operations of the new plants.

THISDAY gathered that even Gbarain Power Plant, which is the only NIPP plant that is not supposed to have gas supply issues, because of the nearby Shell’s Gbarain-Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas Project, is generating zero megawatt out of its 225MW capacity to the national grid.

Investigat­ions further revealed that while Alaoji and Sapele also generate zero most of the times, Omotosho, Geregu, Olorunsogo, and Ihovbor contribute only onequarter of their capacities to the National Grid as a result of the gas shortages.

All the 10 power plants were accompanie­d with gas pipeline projects from the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System and the gas fields at Addax Petroleum’s Adanga offshore facility, Egbema, Izonbe, Shell’s Gbarain-Ubie, Oredo and Oben to each power plant.

It was learnt that Olorunsogo II was designed to take its gas from Itoki area of Ogun State at the end of Oben-Itoki gas pipeline in the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System.

The $1billion West African Gas Pipeline that transports Nigerian gas to the Republic of Benin, Togo and Ghana for power generation also starts from Itoki and goes through Agido near Badagry in Lagos, passing through 33 Nigerian communitie­s and thereafter goes offshore.

The Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), it was learnt, has also built a new gas pressure reduction and metering system (GPRMS) in Olorunsogo because the old one built for the defunct PHCN-owned Olorunsogo Power Plant I could not supply the additional gas for the new NIPP plant.

But despite the completion of these gas supply projects, there is insufficie­nt gas to feed both Olorunsogo I and II power plants.

THISDAY also gathered that for the NIPP’s Omotosho Power Plant II, gas feed is also from the Escravos –Lagos Pipeline System, while the GPRMS built for Omotosho Power Plant I is expected to also cater for the additional gas requiremen­ts of Omotosho Power Plant II.

However, THISDAY could not ascertain the status of the contract for the modificati­ons of separate metering trains for the gas sales lines for the two power stations, which was being executed by Messrs GC Parsons Limited.

But the spokesman of NDPHC, Mr. Yakubu Lawal, told THISDAY at the weekend that all the gas pipeline projects for the supply of gas to the eight completed NIPP power plants, which were under NDPHC had been completed.

He explained: “Our own is to build the power plants. We have also built all the pipelines to enable them take the gas to the completed power stations. But our mandate is not to provide the gas. So, gas is a factor and transmissi­on challenge is also there.

According to Lawal: “If a power plant has four units available and there is gas, it is only the TCN (Transmissi­on Company of Nigeria) that can guarantee what the plant can generate. If the TCN can only take power from two units, the plant can only generate from two units because if TCN takes from all the four units, the system will collapse.”

Anyaeji also told THISDAY that eight power stations and several transmissi­on and distributi­on projects had been completed under the NIPP but added that the contractor­s are still being owed.

“Our own scope is design and management consultanc­y. We started in 2005 and got our completion certificat­e in 2014. Many other projects have also been completed. Only Omoku and Egbema Power Plants are ongoing. But of course, they still owe us some money. So, the contractor­s still meet from time to time,” he explained.

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