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693 containers abandoned at ports for 15 years! How Nigeria jokes with power sector reforms

The news was heart-rendering but it had to be told

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The news was heart-rendering but it had to be told.

On Friday, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) revealed what many had feared; that Nigeria’s claims to being serious with its power sector reforms may have been a huge joke.

An inkling into this mindset was provided by the Managing Director, Usman Mohammed, who told newsmen via a statement that TCN had recovered more than 693 containers of power equipment lying waste at the ports for 15 years.

The company alleged tariff as excuse why the multi-billion Naira equipment were abandoned.

Even more embarrassing was Mohammed’s claims that some of the power equipment had been auctioned by the Nigeria Customs Service, promising that TCN would go after the auctioneers to recover the containers.

“TCN still has over 200 other containers auctioned by the Customs outside the ports,’’ he said.

He added, “We were able to recover 693 containers as of last week, out of a total of 800 containers that have been in the ports.

“Some of these containers have been there for 15 years.

“Others have been auctioned and we had to trace the auctioneers to get the containers.

“The government is supporting us. And with the same way they are supporting us, I know that as government has beamed its searchlight on the distribution companies, they are going to solve the problems with power distribution.”

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Friday’s revelation came on the heels of a recent face-off between Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola, and investors in the Distribution Companies (DisCos).

Trouble began to brew on July 18 when 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria said the claims by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on the status of the nation’s power generation capacity were false.

Fashola had, while addressing newsmen at a briefing in Abuja, claimed that Nigeria’s power generation capacity was about 7,000 megawatts (MW), insisting that the problem facing the nation’s electricity sector had changed from unavailability of power for distribution to an excess capacity of about 2,000MW of power left unused.

But the DisCos, in a 28-page response said that the basis for the increase in power generation capacity from 4,000MW in 2015 to 7,000MW in 2018 as released by the minister was not clear.

“We do not understand the constant references to the increase of generation capacity to 7,000MW from 4,000MW for the period of 2015 to 2018 that has been used as the basis of defining the Discos as incapable of taking on more power – the stranded 2,000MW.

“A review of NERC’s ‘Daily Energy Watch’ for January 28, 2015 would indicate a generation availability of 6,421MW (divided into peak of 4,230MW and constrained energy of 2,191MW).

“In other words, it is misleading to state that available generation has grown from 4,000MW in 2015, as a measure of progress, given that a volume of generation slightly under 7,000MW already or previously existed, prior to the beginning of this administration,” they said.

The DisCos also faulted claims that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) currently had capacity to wheel over 5,000MW, stressing that in spite of the TCN’s tested wheeling capacity of 5,500MW, with the two historical generation peaks of 5,074MW recorded on February 2, 2016, and 5,222MW on December 18, 2017, only 4,577MW and 4,265MW were wheeled or transmitted, respectively.

“In simple terms, the TCN has not wheeled energy in excess of 4,265MW ever,” the firms added.

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Miffed, Fashola, on July 21, maintained that the power firms were sabotaging the nation’s economy by their actions.

“Claims that no directives from me will save the power sector from collapse, is consistent with the views of someone who has no skin in the game.

“As for the allegation that figures of power generation and distribution released by me are not true, the taste of the pudding lies with those who eat it. Electricity consumers know what their experience was in 2015, 2016, 2017 and today.

“Electricity consumers (which include Fashola), want better service; NBET wants its money; about N800 billion, so she can pay GenCos; If DisCos can prove that FGN owes more than what we admit, they should deduct (N72 billion) from N800 billion and pay the remaining N728 billion which they owe NBET,” he said.

Signals Nigeria could be heading for total darkness as Fashola and the DisCos talked tough came on August 1 when the latter threatened to divest and walk away from the contracts.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the investors in Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc, led by Tukur Modibbo, said the DisCos were doing their best and would not hesitate to sell and leave the market if anyone was interested in buying.

“You asked me whether we are willing to quit the business. Now, please listen to me and put it down clearly that we bought our distribution company cash down for $82 million in 2013; we are willing to take $72 million in 24 hours and leave.

“If you have $72 million or Fashola can give us $72 million, we are giving him $10 million discount; if we get that sum, in 24 hours we are out of this business. Please, is there anybody with $72 million here? If there is none, please advertise it for me because I’ve given you the price,” he said.

The Chief Operating Officer, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, John Ayodele, on his part, stated that the power companies would quit immediately if they had an opportunity to do so.

He said, “On when we are going to quit the business, the fact is that if you ask all the investors, because I’ve sat with them, if you can refund them their money in five minutes, they will quit in 10 minutes. No investor wants to stay.”

With power games very evident in high places, the joke appears to be on Nigerians who, over the years, have pinned their hopes on a so called power sector reforms that had gulped billions of dollars with little to show in terms of its impact on industries and homes.

VenturesNow

Israel-based oil and gas firm, NewMed, signs exploration deal with Morocco’s energy ministry

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Israel-based oil and gas firm, NewMed has signed a deal with Morocco’s energy and mining ministry and Adarco Energy for offshore natural gas exploration and production in Morocco.

NewMed made the announcement on Tuesday adding that it will collaborate with Adarco, and each will have a 37.5% stake in the Boujdour Atlantique licence.

NewMed CEO Yossi Abu said, “for a long time now we have recognised a huge potential in Morocco for collaborations in both the natural gas and renewable energy sectors.”

According to the deal, the remainder of 25% is granted to Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines, in accordance with the Hydrocarbon Law of Morocco.

NewMed is the main stakeholder in Israel’s huge Leviathan offshore gas field and is looking to merge with Capricorn Energy to create a gas producer focused on Israel and Egypt.

Statista reports that in 2020, approximately 23.3 billion Moroccan dirhams (MAD) of gas and fuel oils were imported into Morocco. This was equivalent to 2.6 billion U.S. dollars and represented a decrease from the previous year when roughly 38.8 billion MAD (4.3 billion U.S. dollars) of oils were imported into the country.

Overall, Spain was the main trade partner in Morocco in terms of gas and fuel oil imports.

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Nigeria’s oil company, NNPC, signs separate gas pipeline deals with Ghana, Guinea, others

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Nigeria’s oil company, the NNPC have signed separate deals with the national oil companies of Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone in furtherance of the planned Nigeria-Morocco Gas pipeline project.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC, Mele Kyari; highlighted the roles played by the participating countries to make the planned commencement of the project to fruition.

“Today, we will be attaining another feat by signing five MoUs with the national oil companies and relevant entities from Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone.

“From inception of the project to this stage, concerted efforts have been made by the governments of Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco, which led to the very commendable achievements recorded thus far.

“As the strategic vision of our great leaders gains momentum, I would like to express our appreciation to His Royal Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco and His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria for entrusting NNPC Limited with this strategic project,” he stated.

He added: “NNPC Limited will facilitate the continuous supply of gas and provide other enablers such as the required land for the first compressor station to be deployed in Nigeria, which is among the 13 stations earmarked along the pipeline route.”

The Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline mega-project had been first discussed during the official visit of King Mohammed VI of Morocco in December 2016 to President Buhari in Abuja.

Nigeria and Morocco signed MoU for the gas pipeline in September which would link Nigeria to Morocco as well as supply West Africa and Europe.

The Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline mega-project had been first discussed during the official visit of King Mohammed VI of Morocco in December 2016 to President Buhari in Abuja.

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