By Chinora Ugwu
The Transcorp Power Plant in Ughelli, Delta State was bought by the Transnational Corporation Group in 2013 and at the time, had a capacity of 160MW due to an old gas turbine being out of service and suffering catastrophic damage. GE replaced the old PG 9151 unit with a more efficient PG 9171 unit, which is equipped with a remote monitoring and control system.
“This is the first time a flange to flange replacement was carried out in SSA on a power generating unit and the procedure made use of a more than 100 local contractors and workers. The plant, which is now operating with a capacity of 620MW can supply power to up to 2.4-million Nigerian homes,” said the Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu.
The commissioning of the new unit, he said: “GE has been a great partner for Transcorp in getting this unit online. The reactivity and the commitment of the local teams has been remarkable. This illustrates our determination to invest in critical infrastructure, despite the current macro conditions. We appreciate GE’s assistance in Transcorp Power’s mission to light up Nigeria.”
“Feats as we are witnessing today put to bed some of the uninformed comments that stakeholders have not done anything.” He added that his ministry was focused on enhancing power distribution in the country,” said the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola at the event.
Ahmad Zakari, Executive Service Director for GE Power Services Nigeria, said: “The new unit comes with a higher efficiency output of 33% compared to older units that perform at 28%. This readily translates into important savings for the customer as less gas is needed to produce the same output.”
The new unit also enables operators to predict and analyze operations from the plant control room, resulting in a reduction in manual interventions, which in turn reduces the associated safety risks.
“GE has been consistent in its commitment to continue to invest and grow local capabilities in the country and the continent. Every day, our local teams break new frontiers as they support customers with efficient technical support that would otherwise have come from outside sources,” said Zakari.
Power Sector Records 2,746MW, N34.60bn Shortfall in March
As the nation grapples with inadequate electricity supply, the power sector suffered a loss of 2,746 megawatts and N34.60 billion, in the month of March due to system collapse and gas constraints, according to the daily operational report of the Nigerian Electricity System Operation.
This shows an improvement over the 4,276MW loss recorded in February, but a worsened situation in terms of revenue when compared with the N24.04 billion loss recorded also in February.
However, there are indications that the power situation may get further worse as Egbin Power Plc, which has the biggest power plant in Nigeria and one of the biggest single power generating stations in Africa, has threatened to shut down operations due to non-settlement of N100 billion debt, inadequate gas supply and inefficiency in operations of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
In March several losses were recorded in the power generation sub-sector as follows: Egbin which lost functionality when one turbine tripped due to system surge; Gbarain’s single turbine tripped on reverse power; Transcorp Ughelli (Delta) lost two turbines due to high frequency; just as Omotosho NIPP lost one turbine due to gas constraints; Sapele and Odukpani were shut down due to high frequency constraints and mechanical problems.
System Collapse was also recorded in February at Jebba G/S 2G1, Sapele, Delta, Alaoji, and Okpai. Within the period, the following circuits were reported to have tripped off, 330KV Sapele/Delta (cct S4G) at both ends, 330KV Benin/Onitsha lines 1 & 2 (ccts B1T & B2T) at Onitsha end, 330KV AlaojiGS/Alaoji TS line 1 (cct L7A) at Jebba.
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.