Osinbajo, who was speaking at the NAEE/International Association for Energy Economics, Annual International Conference 2016 in Abuja, expressed his disappointment in the fact that despite Nigeria’s enormous natural gas reserves of over 185 trillion cubic feet, the country is still faced with huge energy supply problems.
Osinbajo, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant (Power and Privatisation), Chiedu Ugbo, said: “In fact, it is an irony, that we do not have sufficient gas to fire our power plants up to 7,000MW, yet in energy industry circles, Nigeria is described as more of a gas territory than an oil territory.”
He pointed out that presently, the country has over 12,500MW of installed electricity generating capacity, consisting of gas thermal and hydropower plants, stating of that capacity, about 7,000MW is available to be generated if the required fuel is available.
He, however, disclosed that in spite of the available capacity, power plants in the country, over the last couple of weeks, distributed less than 4,000MW of electricity to consumers across the country.
Osinbajo blamed the development on inadequate investment on gas facilities, gas flaring, inadequate gas infrastructure and vandalism among others.
He said, “We have limited gas molecules to supply to the power plants. This is a result of many years of under-investment in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption and also many years of gas flaring. Nigeria alone flares about half of the 40 billion cubic meters of associated gas estimated to be flared in Africa annually.
To address the situation, Osinbajo disclosed that the Federal Government is aware that there is no alternative to electric energy for energizing and powering Nigeria’s economic growth and development; hence it is determined to resolve the challenges to achieving sustainable energy supply in the country.
“We are working tirelessly towards resolving the gas-to-power challenge, ensuring that the needed investment will be made in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption especially for power plants and at the same time working to ensure sustainability of supply of existing gas volumes,” he noted.