Why Maiduguri’s 50MW emergency power project makes economic sense – Expert

Over the weekend, Nigerian Energy Minister Abubakar Aliyu granted a power generation license to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, to establish and operate the Maiduguri Emergency Power Project (MEPP) in the Born State.

In September 2021, NNPC laid the groundwork for the construction of the 50 MW Maiduguri Emergency Power Project (MEPP) at the injection substation, Baga Road, in Borno State.

During his speech at the foundation laying event in 2021, Group Managing Director at NNPC Mele Kyari said that the power plant’s generation will be based on modular designed GE TM2500 trailer-mounted mobile power units, to run on natural gas and diesel.

Kyari also noted that engineering, procurement and construction of the MEPP would be carried out by China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC).

Reason for MEPP: In 2021, insurgents reportedly destroyed electrical infrastructure in the state, including 330 KVA and 132 KVA power lines along the Maiduguri-Damaturu and Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu highways, leaving thousands of homes and businesses in the dark. The MEPP will help restore power supply to affected areas.

How the project makes economic sense: Natural gas analyst Kayode Oluwadare told Naijaonpoint that the project makes economic sense for local natural gas players. According to him, Borno state has no natural gas and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline ends in Kano state. Therefore, the MEPP will have to rely on virtual pipelines for its natural gas supply.

For Oluwadare, the options before the NNPC are:

Engage companies that supply natural gas through virtual pipelines: Virtual pipelines are liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks that transport gas to places without existing pipelines. Greenville LNG is one option, according to Oluwadare.

He said that in 2021, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited granted concessional rights to three companies; Asiko Energy, Bridport Energy and Gas Plus Synergy will deliver LNG nationwide for 10 years, starting in 2022. In addition, Axxela Energy operates a micro-scale LNG project in Ajaokuta, Kogi State, with the capacity to deliver gas to the MEPP. .

The Kolmani project in Gombe and Bauchi: Oluwadare told Naijaonpoint that Borno, Gombe and Bauchi are all in the northeast, so it will be easier to pipe gas from the Kolmani oil and gas project in Gombe and Bauchi to the MEPP in Borno state. According to him, these options give local companies the opportunity to increase their revenue base and secure more jobs/productivity for staff along the value chain.

For the record: The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has previously approved NNPC’s application for generation from the 50MW power plant. The license is for a renewable period of 10 years.

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