The Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) in December 2017 announced a plan to build three natural gas-fired power plants in the country, thanks to a $2.8 billion pipeline project that would bring natural gas from the southern part of the African nation to its northern region.
The plants, sited in Abuja, Kaduna, and Kano, would have a total generation capacity of about 4,600 MW, according to NNPC. The plants would receive fuel from the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline project. Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources for Nigeria, told the Federal Executive Council in a December presentation, “We presently have trapped power, trapped gas, all in the southern corridors that is going nowhere because of lack of infrastructure.”
Chidi Izuwah, acting director-general of Nigeria’s Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, on December 21 said the AKK project is the first phase of the Trans-Nigeria Gas Pipeline project. The 614-kilometer (381-mile), 40-inch-wide pipeline will originate in Ajaokuta, move through Abuja and Kaduna, and terminate at a station in Kano. “The pipeline will be supplied with quality gas sourced from various gas gathering projects,” Izuwah said in a statement.
Kachikwu in his presentation said gas from the Niger Delta also would be moved in the pipeline via an interconnection with the Odidi Pipeline Project from Warri, and the region’s southern marshlands. Maikanti Baru, NNCP’s group managing director, on December 19 told Niger State Governor Abubakar Bello the power plants would be built in partnership with private investors. He told the Premium Times of Abuja, “As part of the drive to establish power plants to augment the power supply to the country, the Federal Executive Council recently approved the AKK Gas Pipeline project to be financed through public-private partnership. The project comes with other auxiliary ones, including power generation plants in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano, with 1,350 MW, 900 MW and 2,350 MW capacity respectively.” Baru also said NNPC would enlist private investors to build fertilizer plants in the country, which could use natural gas as feedstock.
The Nigerian government, though its Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, is making a concerted effort to improve the country’s infrastructure (Figure 1), including seeking investment for power generation projects. The World Bank says more than 40% of the country’s population lives without electricity. The government in September 2017 announced a $5.8 billion deal with a consortium of Chinese state-owned construction companies to build the 3,050-MW Mambila hydropower project, which will be the largest power plant in the country. The project will feature four dams, ranging from 50 meters to 150 meters tall, and is expected to take six years to complete. The Chinese Export-Import Bank is expected to finance 85% of the project, with the Nigerian government responsible for the rest.
The Mambila project was first announced in the 1980s, but little progress toward construction was made until recently. The government awarded a $1.4 billion contract to two Chinese firms in 2007 to build a 2,600-MW hydropower plant, but the deal was not finalized. The new agreement was brokered when President Muhammadu Buhari made a state visit to China in 2016, meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In January 2017, Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi announced plans for China to invest $40 billion in Nigeria, in addition to the contract for the Mambila hydro plant.
—Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor.