Nationwide blackout looms, as Shell shuts 524mw Afam plant


Shell Petroleum on Tuesday shut down the 524 mega watts capacity Afam VI Power Plant, heightening the possibility of national blackout and load shedding.
The country, which generates 3,400mw of electricity, has hitherto been faced with epileptic power supply.
The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Joint Venture, a subsidiary of Shell, which announced the shut down in a statement argued that the power plant had ran out of gas supply.

“SPDC today (16 July) shut down Afam VI Power Plant due to shortage of gas arising from the closure of the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) as a result of crude oil theft related leaks,” the company said.
Afam VI Power Plant has 624mw capacity, but supplied only 105mw to the national grid due to reduced gas volume at the time of shutdown.

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 also led to tank tops and non-evacuation of condensate from Okoloma Gas Plant which supplies Afam VI Power Plant with feed gas.
“SPDC had to shut down Okoloma Gas Plant today as it could not continue to produce gas without the evacuation of condensate.”

The latest leak on the TNP occurred on the 24-inch stream at Owokiri on July 11.
A Joint Investigation Visit comprising government agencies, community and civil society representatives and SPDC personnel, found that unknown persons had installed a 6-inch crude theft valve on the facility.
SPDC repaired the leak, and is 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.

The company is striving to repair the TNP as quickly as possible, and restore operations that will enable power generation to resume at Afam VI.
“SPDC is deeply concerned about the negative impact of incessant crude theft activities on lives and environment in the Niger Delta, and also the loss of electricity to businesses and households across the country.”
The total daily loss from the TNP shutdown alone comes to about $15 million (N2.4 billion).

In the same vein, Chief Executive Officer of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Don Priestman, has identified inadequate funding, obsolete equipment and other daunting challenges as factors militating against the smooth operation of the company.
A statement signed by the General Manager (Public Affairs) of TCN, Dave Ifabiyi, stated that Priestman, however, added that with the takeover of TCN management by Manitoba Hydro International Management Contractor, a new phase in power sector, has begun which will place more emphasis on transfer of skill, staff training and adequate reward for outstanding performance.
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