Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has lamented the country’s inability to generate up to 7,000 megawatts of electricity to power the country’s power plants due to a lack of gas despite the enormous natural gas reserves of over 185 trillion cubic feet.
Osinbajo made the disclosure in Abuja on Monday, April 25, 2016 at theAnnual International Conference of the Nigerian Association for Energy Economics, NAEE/International Association for Energy Economics.
He said currently, the country had over 12,500MW of installed electricity generating capacity, consisting of gas thermal, and hydropower plants, stating that capacity of about 7,000MW was available to be generated, if the required fuel was available.
He said: “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 who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Power and Privatisation, Chiedu Ugbo, expressed disappointment that power plants in the country distributed less than 4,000MW of electricity to consumers despite the available capacity in the past few weeks.
According to Osinbajo, the persistent problem was as a result of inadequate investment on gas facilities, gas flaring, inadequate gas infrastructure, vandalism and some other factors, Vanguard reports.
He said: “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. To address the situation, Osinbajo disclosed that the Federal Government was aware that there is no alternative to electric energy for energizing and powering Nigeria’s economic growth and development; hence it is determined to resolve the challenges to achieving sustainable energy supply in the country.
“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 sustainability of supply of existing gas volumes.”