20 August 2012, Sweetcrude, UGHELLI – NIGERIA”s Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji has inaugurated a unit of the Ughelli power plant, GT 18, recently restored, to generate additional 130 megawatts, Mw.
Performing the exercise at the weekend, Nnaji said the project was part of the Federal Government’s efforts to boost power generation and distribution in the country.
In a related development, the minister has given Ringardas Nigeria Limited, an Indian firm, 20 days to evacuate its bitumen tank, built on a gas pipeline right of way, during a tour of the Sapele Power Plant.
The Ughelli power plant generated 230mw from four units before Friday’s inauguration of a new unit.
With the repair of an additional unit, bringing total functional units to six, the station now has a generating capacity of 360mw, including the additional 130mw to be added to the existing 4,300mw peak generation.
Promising steady supply of gas to power the stations, Nnaji also canvassed proper maintenance and management of the facilities, warning that the ministry would not compromise standards.
Nnaji used the opportunity to allay the fears of PHCN workers over FG’s power reform, saying, “Government cannot go to China or any country outside to import labour rather than you all who are Nigerians and have acquired experience over the years in power generation and distribution.”
Conducting the minister and his entourage, including the Minister of State for Power, Mr.
Darius Ishiaku and the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Dere Awosika, round the restored unit, the Chief Executive Officer, Ughelli Power Plc, Okechukwu Udeh, explained that the GT 18 being inaugurated remained the biggest contributor, saying, that the “other units like the GTs 8 and 12 Hitachi 25 gas turbine generators were contributing just 15mw.”
“The actual site design capacity of these units is 20mw each, but the units had to be de-rated for extended operation. They are due for major inspection. In fact all the units in Delta II and III require major inspection to restore them to their original status,” Udeh said.
He added, “We tried to prove a point and make a statement that it is possible to recover lost generation over time and sustain available capacity without recourse to the Federal Government budget”.
“This is possible only if the IGR is sustained in form of revenue from payment for energy delivered. We are convinced that the electricity industry is capable of sustaining itself by accounting and paying for energy delivered less technical losses.”
He, however, expressed regret that the application adversely affected the company’s operation, leaving it with unsettled invoices arising from funds mopped up in 2010 and unreleased 2011 budget fourth quarter funds.
At the Sapele power plant, also in Delta State, the power minister observed the presence of a huge tank along the pipeline supplying gas from the Nigerian Gas Company to the PHCN power plant and demanded to see the owners.
The company officials explained that they secured a court injunction before going ahead with construction.
Nnaji, who expressed anger, said nowhere in the world were people allowed to build in such a manner.
He said, “There is nowhere in the world where a court injunction is issued empowering anyone to build on a right of way created by law. Therefore, I am giving you 20 days to remove the tanks.”