The University of Ilorin is partnering with a US company to build a 500 megawatts solar energy plant as part of efforts to tackle the challenge of power supply in Nigeria.
The institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, disclosed this while speaking at the News Agency of Nigeria forum in Abuja.
“The 500 megawatts is too much for the university alone to utilize; in fact, we in the university require just a maximum of four megawatts.Which means the extra 496 megawatts would have to be given to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, either the immediate community or nationwide. I think that is what is being processed,” he said.
“We have had talks with various stakeholders who are going to be party to the consumption and payment of the 496 megawatts because the project is going to cost about $1.5 billion.
“It is a heavy investment, which means the company that is going to bring the $1.5 billion has to be convinced that it will recoup its investment,” he added.
The Managing Director of the American company, Brain Travis, said the selection of Unilorin as its partner was because the university had many reliable innovative projects.
Travis, who described the project as the largest solar plant in Africa, said it would help empower the locals in terms of employment and training.
“Most of us probably know there are difficulties with the whole power system in Nigeria. We will all like to have stable power. We also are going to not sell into the national grid, but try to solve the problem by entering into direct contract with Discos; because of the location of Ilorin, we have direct access to six district discos up and down the coast,” he said.
“So we will be effectively dealing with the people who need the power. So that we do not have the supply chain issues that exists now and that is the reason we are doing the solar project here. It has got good solar radiation. We have an excellent host; you heard about the innovative projects of the Vice-Chancellor and it’s that spirit that allows us to come in and negotiate for a significant piece of property, he stressed further.
“Also there is an obligation I understand from the university to help the local community. So we are going to be hiring local people as contractors as well as training local people in solar and renewable. The project would be completed in 18 months”.
NNPC Cautions on Phantom Recruitment exercise
The Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has raised the alarm on the existence of some dubious syndicates with specialty in extorting money from unsuspecting members of the public under the pretext of a purported recruitment exercise and promise of phantom job placements in the Corporation.
The Corporation in a release by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughmadu, said the NNPC at this time is not conducting any recruitment exercise noting that the Corporation would advertise vacant positions whenever it has need to embark on a recruitment exercise.
Throwing more light on the method of operation of the fake job syndicate, the NNPC explained that the group deploys various means ranging from text messages, social media platforms and forged letters to invite gullible job seekers for non-existing job interviews after ostensibly extorting money from them.
‘’To this end, we wish to once again appeal to members of the public, particularly unsuspecting applicants to be wary of fraudulent invitations for job interviews at the NNPC Towers. Anyone who entertains such invitations or deals with peddlers of such invitation does so at his or her own risk,’’ the NNPC stated.
The Corporation noted that anyone contacted for the purpose of the purported recruitment other than through advertisement duly placed by the Corporation in national newspapers, should not hesitate to report such invitations to relevant law enforcement agencies.
The statement emphasized the determination of the NNPC Management under the leadership of Dr. Maikanti Baru to sustain the prevailing gale of transparency and accountability which has witnessed the conduct of open public bidding in sourcing for contractors and suppliers of goods and services for its day-to-day operational requirements.
Gas Flaring: Nigeria achieves 26% reduction
As part of efforts to preserve the environment, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it has succeeded in reducing gas flaring in the Country, by 26 percentage points in the last ten years from 36 per cent to 10 per cent, pushing Nigeria down from the second highest gas flaring nation in 2006 to the seventh position in 2016.
Explaining the gas flare reduction trend recently in Abuja, NNPC Chief Operating Officer, COO, Upstream, Mallam Bello Rabiu, noted that as at 2006 Nigeria was flaring 2.5 billion standard cubic feet (scf) of gas, while consuming only 300mscf of gas per day, adding that technology had helped the industry to record a drastic flare down.
He said the drastic reduction in gas flaring was achieved through aggressive gas commercialization anchored on the Gas Master Plan.
“The Gas Master Plan was geared towards addressing four key critical issues of gas availability, infrastructure, commercialization framework and gas affordability,” Mallam Rabiu said.
He further explained that though the implementation of the plan was driven by NNPC, it was sponsored by all the oil and gas companies operating in the country and that it has helped in addressing some of the issues that were confronting the gas sector.
The COO Upstream stated that in order to ensure gas affordability, the plan stipulates a lower price for gas to the power sector which is the most important segment while other sectors of industries and manufacturing get gas at a commercial rate.
This measure, according to him, was to ensure that gas producers get value for the gas they produce for sale.
On other actions by the Federal Government to end gas flaring in the country, Mallam Rabiu said government had designed a National Gas Policy which seeks, among other things, to end gas flaring by 2020.
He explained that the National Gas Policy had been circulated to all operators to guide them on the direction of the Federal Government with regard to how it wants the nation’s abundant gas resources deployed.
He said the policy document was being studied by all stakeholders in order to put them on the same page with the government.
The COO also informed that the Federal Government provided a guarantee of payment to gas suppliers through the Central Bank of Nigeria and the World Bank three weeks ago as part of incentives to get the oil and gas companies to commercialize more of their gas.
“This is a very important step that the NNPC has been working on since 2008”, he enthused.
On appropriate gas pricing, Mallam Rabiu said that a Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria had been established by all the gas producing companies in Nigeria to work towards achieving parity between domestic and export gas price.