The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on Tuesday, assured that the Escravos-Lagos gas pipeline would be completed by August, bringing the nation’s gas production capacity to about two billion cubic feet per day.
When completed, the pipeline would become Africa’s biggest, helping to boost gas supply to power plants and for export to neigbouring countries.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the on-going Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), in Houston, U.S, NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Joseph Dawha, said the project has so far progressed very well.
Dawha, who spoke through the corporation’s Group Executive Director Gas and Power, Dr. David Ige, also said work on the construction of the East-West gas pipelines has started and would be completed by end of 2016.
According to him, “Lagos pipeline is almost completed and we expect that within the next three months that project is done. We have completed and commissioned Lagos all the way to Oben. We have completed Emore, all the way to Itoke in Lagos and so, the bit that is still left is Benin to Emore and that is progressing very well and the expectation is that before August this year the ELPS pipelines would have been completed and we would have doubled the capacity to two billion cubic feet per day. Virtually, it should be the biggest pipeline in Africa, in terms of triple.
“Construction has started on the East-West pipeline and we are beginning to make a lot of progress in terms of construction on both sides. Our expectation is that by December 2016, we would have mechanical completion of the pipelines and early 2017 we start to flow gas on the pipeline”.
He explained that several factors are hindering government’s effort to boost power supply in the country, including gas pipelines vandalism, low water for hydro plants and evacuation challenges.
But with generation hovering around 3,000 megawatts and most plants operating at 50 per cent of installed capacity or completely shut down, the NNPC boss assured that as measures put in place by government begin to come on stream, the benefits would visible through improved power generation.
“We are having quite a lot of issues that are interlinked in the power sector. For the past two months, the Escravos-Lagos pipeline between Escravos and Warri, one leg of it is down after the vandalism. It has taken us this long to repair that pipeline because the elections meant that the JTF could not provide security for our people to go in there and assess. It was only after the elections that people went there to assess, and work is going on there to effect that repairs.
“So, with the loss of the pipeline, at the moment we are losing 120 to150 million per day which has been the case for the last week or so. In addition to that, the Trans-Forcados pipeline was attacked about four weeks ago. There was an attempt to repair it. But when we tried to bring that back on line there was further leakage, which is being fixed right now.
“With Trans-Forcados pipeline out, we are losing gas supply from Oben, Sapele and from NPDC (Nigerian Petroleum Development Company) which is a significant chunk. So right now, we are losing gas from Escravos and we are losing gas from Oben axis and that is significant amount of our supply capacity that is down on the western axis.
“On the eastern side, we have largely evacuation issues, so even though we are able to supply Okpai Power Plant, the power sector challenges do not make them able to evacuate all of that power. So Okpai is not able to generate at full capacity.
“We are able to supply gas to Ibom Power, but Ibom Power has been operating at about 50 per cent capacity for quite a few months now. So although the gas is there, the power plant is not working at full capacity. We are able to supply gas to Alaoji, but Alaoji Power Plant is not able to evacuate power because when Alaoji is on, you cannot evacuate Alaoji, Calabar and some others,” he stressed.