By Joseph Afam
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Friday, said it has kick-started a number of initiatives that would help it contribute to the Federal Government’s quest to increase Nigeria’s power generation capacity by 10 gigawatts.
These initiatives, according to a statement by the NNPC in Abuja, were highlighted by its Group Managing Director, Mr. Maikanti Baru, when a delegation of the Nigerian Gas Association led by its President, Mr. Dada Thomas, visited the NNPC.
Baru said the measures are designed to expand gas generation and distribution nationwide.
To start with, he disclosed that the recent debt settlement for the Joint Ventures would have great impact on the gas industry as the initiative was capable of freeing some dedicated funds that could be used to develop the sector.
“We have the aspiration of government to raise power generation to at least 10 gigawatts capacity, not just 10GW in terms of installed capacity, but one that will be steady in the grid by 2020. All these will drive our activities to ensure that the gas business is expanded and government’s aspiration to earn as much revenue from gas as oil will definitely be realized,” Baru stated.
Furthermore, he declared that current efforts to connect the eastern part of the country, where there are a lot of gas reserves, with the west, where high consumption demand exists, demonstrated NNPC’s readiness to impact positively on the power sector.
He maintained that a lot had been achieved in the contracting process of the $2.7billion Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano pipeline project, dubbed AKK Pipeline Project.
He said, “We have gone far with the development of the project using the same paradigm shift of Public Private Partnership (PPP) financing. We have also gone far with the contracting process, part of which is to ensure that money meant for the project is raised from the private investors.”
He explained that the feat recorded in the project would bring to the fore, a new dimension in gas projects execution in the country, nothing that this would signal a regime of private investors funding for such projects.
Baru recalled recent financing agreements signed in London wherein, for the first time, the Chinese contributed $250m towards the projects.
He disclosed that Chinese banks had made commitments to bringing in as much money as might be needed to finance oil and gas investments in Nigeria.
“On that occasion, I did challenge the Chinese Banks that since they have now come on board, they should move from the back seat to the driver’s seat and they gave me their commitment that they have plans to bring in as much money as we need to execute our projects. And if the Chinese tell you that they are going do it, definitely they will do it and we will give them a run for their money,” Baru said.
He said NNPC would make inputs into the National Gas Policy recently adopted by the Federal Executive Council as well as the Fiscal Bills on gas being worked out by the legislature, with the view to ensuring that gas takes its rightful place in Nigeria’s domestic energy mix.
Speaking during the visit, NGA President, Mr. Dada Thomas, applauded the GMD of NNPC for the numerous initiatives that he had taken so far to turn around the fortunes of the Corporation and the country’s economy at large.
He said, “We would like to congratulate the NNPC on a number of paradigm shifts, changes and initiatives it had brought to the fore in recent times. I am talking about the new alternative funding which you recently signed with Shell and Chevron to the tune of $1.78 billion, the clearing of $400 million debt in April, the progress being made on the Elf 2 loop lines and the OB3 gas project, one of the most critical gas pipelines in the country.”
He declared that this gale of achievements by NNPC informed NGA’s huge confidence in the current Management of the Corporation to transform the country’s oil and gas Industry.