Business Blackout Looms As 19 Plants Shutdown Over Militant Attacks on Gas Supply


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Nineteen thermal plants in Nigeria have been shut down after militants knocked out the Forcados export pipeline last February, and the Escravos- Lagos link early May, leaving the country to depend on only four gas-powered generators.

This, according to Bloomberg yesterday, signalled a looming nationwide blackout if nothing is done to address the renewed attacks on gas installations. “All but four of the country’s 23 gas-powered generators have been shut down,” the news agency reported.

Quoting the Chief Executive Officer of Egbin power plant, Dallas Peavey Jr., Bloomberg reported that the shortage of gas supply is a big threat to the plant’s plan to double power generation.

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Egbin is Nigeria’s largest power facility whose output has fallen to less than 10 per cent of its 1,320-megawatt capacity. “For all the plants, there’s no gas,” Peavey said, adding, “We’re sitting idle here.”

Until the violence ends and the gas supplies resume, Peavey has shelved plans to double Egbin’s output. “We can’t double the capacity if we can’t find the fuel,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu told reporters yesterday in Vienna that the Forcados pipeline will reopen in July. Spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell Plc., Precious Okolobo, had earlier said that repairs were continuing on Forcados.
 

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