Consumers face further electricity woes as Shell shuts Afam VI power plant

By The Citizen

Power generation in the country dropped further on Tuesday following the shutdown of the 624 megawatts capacity Afam VI Power Plant by the Shell Petroleum Development Company Joint Venture.

Shell said in a statement that the power plant was shut down due to gas shortage arising from the closure of the Trans Niger Pipeline due to crude oil theft related leaks.

The pipeline was shut in June following a fire incident. It was reopened after six days only for SPDC to on July 11 shut the pipeline again due to a leak.

The shutdown of the TNP system, comprising the 28-inch and 24-inch streams, resulted in the deferment of 150,000 barrels of oil per day and huge economic losses to the Federal Government.

The Corporate Media Relations Manager, SPDC, Mr. Tony Okonedo, said the shutdown had also led to tank tops and non-evacuation of condensate from the Okoloma Gas Plant, which supplies Afam VI Power Plant with feed gas.

'SPDC had to shut down the Okoloma Gas Plant today (Tuesday) as it could not continue to produce gas without the evacuation of condensate. Afam VI Power Plant was available at 624MW capacity, but supplying only 105MW to the national grid due to reduced gas volume at the time of shutdown,' Okonedo said.

According to him, SPDC is deeply concerned about the negative impact of incessant crude theft on lives and the environment in the Niger Delta, and also the loss of electricity to businesses and households across the country.

He said the total daily loss from the TNP shutdown alone added up to about $15m (N2.4bn).

He explained that the latest leak on the TNP occurred on the 24-inch stream at Owokiri on July 11, adding that a joint investigation visit of government agencies, community and civil society representatives as well as SPDC personnel found that unknown persons had installed a six-inch valve on the facility.

Okonedo said SPDC had repaired the leak and was working to remove other crude theft points that were discovered in the process.

The 28-inch TNP had earlier been shut-in for removal of similar oil theft connections with the company striving to repair the TNP as quickly as possible and restore operations in order to enable power generation to resume at Afam VI.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria had recently put the power generating capacity of the country's power plants at 2,290MW, blaming it on the vandalism of two major pipelines supplying gas to eight power generating stations across the country.

According to TCN, the affected plants are Egbin/AES Thermal Stations, Olorunsogo, Omotoso, Geregu NIPP, Afam IV and VI as well as Rivers State Independent Power Station, which resulted in drastic reduction of power supply by 1,598MW.