The problems with power supply in Nigeria are indeed multifaceted. Apart from sabotage arising from pipeline vandalism and destruction of other oil facilities, many, like the vice president of the country, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, ascribe it to poor investment on gas facilities, gas flaring and inadequate gas infrastructure. He stated that in spite of the availability of power plants in the country, electricity distribution over the last couple of weeks has been less than 4,000MW across the country.
“In fact, it is an irony that we do not have sufficient gas to fire our power plants up to 7,000MW, yet in energy industry circles, Nigeria is described as more of a gas territory than an oil territory,” the vice president made this remark at the International Association for Energy Economics Annual International Conference in Abuja on Monday regretting the fact that despite Nigeria’s enormous natural gas reserves of over 185 trillion cubic feet, the country is still faced with huge energy supply problems.
Official records show, Nigeria had more than 12,500 megawatts installed electricity generating capacity, including gas thermal, and hydropower plants. Osinbajo said about 7,000megawatts can be conveniently generated if the required fuel was available to power the plants. “We have limited gas molecules to supply to the power plants. This is a result of many years of under-investment in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption and also many years of gas flaring.
Nigeria alone flares about half of the 40 billion cubic meters of associated gas estimated to be flared in Africa annually,” he said through his Senior Special Assistant (Power and Privatisation), Chiedu Ugbo. As a solution, the vice president said the present administration is poised to tackle these challenges head-on in it’s drive to achieve sustainable electric power supply. “We are working tirelessly towards resolving the gas-to-power challenge, ensuring that the needed investment will be made in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption, especially for power plants and, at the same time working to ensure the sustainability of supply in the existing gas volumes,” he added.
On his part, President of Nigerian Association for Energy Economics, NAEE, Mr. Wumi Iledare said the federal government should stop with regulation of the oil market and allow international and local dynamics of the market to determine price of fuel products. Iledare advocated for regulatory agencies independence and cautioned that it is impulsive for Nigeria to perpetually develop oil and gas resources for cash. Rather he advised the satisfaction of local energy needs.