Shell, NNPC lament over Nigeria’s electricity deficit

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Gas producers, Shell and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have lamented over the poor electricity supply in Nigeria despite the abundant energy resources the country has. According to the stakeholders, the huge liquidity crisis in the power sector was hampering investments in gas development.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, and the Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development, Osagie Okunbor raised their concerns over the electricity deficit during their panel session at the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja on Tuesday.

Lamenting that most businesses in the country rely on generators for electricity, Kyari said that at this age or time when there is a transition globally from use of fossil fuels (such as petrol and diesel) to renewable energy, solving the issue of electricity supply was crucial.

“For this country and very many of us in sub-Saharan Africa, what we worry about today is actually the meals of today. There are many who can’t afford a meal a day. And of course, electricity is largely a luxury; it’s only for the elite like all of us here.

“It is the dream of very many to have I-pass-my-neighbour in their homes. When you say, ‘Do not use fossil fuel,’ you are saying that ‘park this.’ You have not provided alternatives. The world has not looked at their situation. The world has not recognised that there is abject poverty in the communities,” Kyari said.

According to Okunbor, oil and gas production, which reportedly accounted for 90% of the country’s export revenues, only contributed 10% of the Gross Domestic Product.

“What that essentially says is that the multiplier effect of having these important resources simply doesn’t exist. I was staggered to see a sheer number of people in this country across all geopolitical zones who rely on firewood as a primary source of energy.” 

He also emphasized the need to de-risk the entire value chain for issues like gas supply to power plants.

What you should know: During the petroleum summit, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) disclosed that Nigeria would be receiving a $1 million grant from the U.S. government for technical and financial work on a power plant project in Abuja.

Kyari said that the money would be used for work at the 1,350 megawatts NNPC-Abuja Independent Power Project plant.

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