More than six months after the nation’s electricity generation dropped below 3,000 megawatts, output from the power plants is still 1,552MW lower than the peak achieved in February.
Power generation stood at 3,523.10MW as of 6am on Friday, September 2, 2016, up from 3,026.3MW on August 29, data from the System Operator showed.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria announced on February 2, 2016 that the nation had achieved its peak electricity generation of 5,074.70MW.
On March 1, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission said power supply through the national grid had dropped below 2,800MW due to vandalism.
Eight days after, power generation in the country fell to a record low of 1,580.6MW, a development that threw many parts of the country into blackout for days.
The downturn in power supply was exacerbated in May by the several attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta, which made generation plunge to a new low of 1,400MW on May 17, according to the TCN.
The nation’s power grid recorded 21 collapses in the first half of the year – 16 total and five partial collapses.
The latest system collapse (partial) was recorded on July 10, according to data from the National Control Centre.
More than half of the nation’s power plants are currently facing gas shortage, with unutilised electricity generation capacity due to gas constraints put at 3,988.3MW as of August 29.
The country generates the bulk of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydro-power plants makes up about 30 per cent of the total generation.
In what was a big blow to electricity generation in the country, Shell’s Forcados export terminal was hit in February, forcing the oil major to declare force majeure on the exports of the crude oil grade.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, in its financial and operations’ report recently said, “The nation has lost over 1,500MW of power supply to the damage as gas supply from Forcados, which is Nigeria’s major artery, accounts for 40 to 50 per cent of gas production. Incessant pipeline vandalism poses the greatest threat to the industry.”
Industry experts have continued to highlight the need for a robust energy mix by exploring renewable energy resources including solar and wind.
An energy expert and Partner, Bloomfield Law Practice, Mr. Ayodele Oni, said, “I understand that a number of Nigerians are partnering companies providing cutting-edge energy solutions such as solar systems that are run on computerised platforms.
“I believe that if the government provides the enabling environment for the foregoing, less emphasis will be placed on gas pipelines and vandalism should reduce.”
A former Minister of Power and Chief Executive Officer, Geometric Power Limited, Prof. Barth Nnaji, said the country should diversify its sources of power generation to ensure sustainable fuel supply.
“We have not touched coal. We have a lot of coal in the country,” he said at a public lecture in Lagos last month.
Nnaji added, “The US produces about 40 per cent of its one million megawatts of electricity from coal, while China produces 60 per cent of its electricity from coal. We have coal here but we are not making use of it. Even the natural gas that we have, are we really producing the gas? It is certainly not enough. Hydro is another source.”
IBEDC Disconnects UCH Over N500m Debt, Critical Services Affected
The University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State, experienced a disruption in its power supply after the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) disconnected the hospital over a debt amounting to N500 million.
Dr. Jesse Otegbayo, the Chief Medical Director of UCH, confirmed the disconnection but refrained from elaborating on the exact cause.
IBEDC’s spokesperson, Busolami Tunwase, acknowledged the outstanding debt owed by UCH but denied that the disconnection was intentional.
Tunwase stated that while UCH owed the substantial amount, the power outage was due to a technical fault in the area, coinciding with the debt situation.
Despite repeated attempts to engage UCH in discussions to settle the debt, IBEDC had resorted to disconnection as a last resort.
The disconnection poses significant challenges to UCH’s critical services, affecting patient care and hospital operations.
While IBEDC emphasized its understanding of the hospital’s importance and commitment to resolving the issue amicably, the situation underscores the financial strains faced by healthcare institutions and the essential need for reliable power supply.
Efforts to negotiate and find a resolution between UCH and IBEDC are ongoing to restore normal operations and ensure uninterrupted healthcare services.
Oil and Gas Dealers Threaten Withdrawal as 70% of Downstream Businesses Collapse
The downstream oil sector in Nigeria faces a looming crisis as oil and gas dealers, represented by the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), issue a stern warning of potential service withdrawal.
In a recent resolution following their executive committee meeting in Abuja, NOGASA expressed grave concerns over the collapse of approximately 70% of businesses in the industry due to the harsh operating environment.
President of NOGASA, Benneth Korie, highlighted the dire situation, emphasizing the challenges faced by oil marketers in funding operations amidst soaring bank interest rates.
Korie underscored the overwhelming burden faced by operators who are compelled to acquire funds at exorbitant interest rates upwards of 30%, exacerbating financial strain and hindering business viability.
The primary demand voiced by NOGASA is the pegging of the foreign exchange rate at N750/$ to facilitate refinery operations and stimulate the production of refined products domestically.
Failure to address these pressing issues, Korie warned, could result in the withdrawal of services by NOGASA’s over 200 members starting from the next month.
The downstream oil crisis coincides with heightened anticipation for the release of refined petroleum products from the Dangote and Port Harcourt refineries, seen as critical for alleviating supply shortages nationwide.
However, amidst forex crises and inflationary pressures, operators in the oil and gas sector confront mounting economic challenges, necessitating urgent government intervention.
As Nigeria navigates through turbulent economic waters, stakeholders eagerly await decisive action from authorities to salvage the downstream oil sector from imminent collapse and avert potential disruptions in fuel supply chains.
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