Power situation worsens as vandalism of gas facilities heightens


The continued armed militants’ attacks on gas facilities supplying the nation’s power plants appear to be threatening the nation’s power sector now at the point of collapse.
From available indications, the attacks on the oil and gas facilities are not only throwing  the country into permanent darkness but will aggravate the already worsening economic and industrial paralysis.
This is because four of the country’s 23 gas-powered generation plants have shut down after the Niger Delta Avengers knocked out the Forcados export pipeline in February and the Escravos-Lagos link in early May this year.

The militants have repeatedly blown up gas pipelines, lowering electricity output to 1,000 megawatts on May 23 and worsening daily blackouts that cost the economy at least 2 per cent of GDP growth annually, according to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, in a recent statement.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in early May hinted that government was committed to 10,000 megawatts of electricity in the next four years. But his plans to increase power generation may just be a day dream.
The reality of the situation is that if the current spate of vandalism of oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta region is not curtailed with immediate effect, power supply will continue to deteriorate.
But as the damages have continued without any respite in sight, many oil companies have shut down production and evacuated their workers from the danger zones while others have indefinitely shut crude exportation.

This was as Royal Dutch Shell had started repairs of some damaged spots after defying the threats and warnings by the militants not to do so. The consequence was heavy attack launched on the facility last week. Shell spokesman, Precious Okolobo, said last week that repairs were continuing on Forcados.
On his part, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum, said last Thursday in Vienna that the link will reopen in July but other government officials say Escravos may not open until September, according to Dallas Peavey Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s largest power facility, Egbin.

In similar vein, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has expressed concern that the bombings of major oil installations by the Niger Delta Avengers could worsen the operations of oil companies.
Mr. Azubuike Okafor, MAN Chairman in charge of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states, said  Monday  the development would negatively affect the efforts of the Federal Government to increase power generation in the country.

He said that though manufacturers were pleased with efforts being made by the Federal Government to tackle the country’s electricity challenges, such efforts were being hindered by the militants.

According to him, the actions of the militants have caused the closure of many industries because of the non-availability of diesel to power industries. He maintained that the militants are disrupting efforts being made by government to improve and sustain electricity generation and increase oil production.
Okafor, therefore, advised the government to dialogue with the militants and persuade them to support its effort.

Tom Lori Published by Tom Lori

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