A top source in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has debunked the false claim that the Maiduguri Gas Plant has been shut down. The Gas Plant, which was initiated during the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and constructed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPCL), was completed in February 2023 and has been in operation since then.
This clarification regarding the completion and inauguration of the gas plant by senior NNPC Limited officials comes in response to a media report on November 5, 2023, suggesting that the critical infrastructure, designed to address power supply disruptions in Maiduguri caused by insurgent attacks, had not yet become operational.
The media report had alleged that the plant, which was intended to provide stable and uninterrupted power supply, thereby improving the economy and the lives of people in the state, had not yet started functioning. However, a reliable source familiar with the matter refuted this claim, emphasizing that NNPC Limited had meticulously executed the project, commencing with the simple cycle phase of 32 megawatts, which was completed and inaugurated in February 2023.
The source characterized the report as a fabrication that did not align with the current facts on the ground. According to the source, “NNPC has diligently executed this project starting with the simple cycle phase (32MW), which was completed and inaugurated with liquid fuel (AGO) in February 2023, and the power plant has been successfully operational.”
The source clarified that the temporary use of diesel fuel as the secondary fuel for the gas turbine was not cost-effective, leading to a deliberate shutdown of the plant until the regasification facility project was completed. Now, with the regasification facility ready, the primary fuel source for the power plant is Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
As of November 2, 2023, the plant, operated by NNPC Ltd in collaboration with the China Machinery Engineering Company (CMEC) and General Electric (GE), has supplied approximately 12 megawatts of power to the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) for utilization on its network.
The second phase of the project, involving the combined cycle mode and an additional 18MW capacity, is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2024. The gradual increase in electricity production will align with YEDC’s capacity to absorb the power, ultimately contributing to grid supply.
The source acknowledged the extensive collaboration between NNPC Limited and various government entities and private sector stakeholders to make this transformative project a reality. The source expressed gratitude to NERC, NBET, TCN, YEDC, NEMSA, System Operators, and Market Operators for their unwavering cooperation.
Regarding power offtake, the initial interim Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) guiding the project has undergone successful negotiations with NBET, and approval has been secured for the commercial operation of the plant to commence in November 2023.
Maiduguri and its surrounding areas have endured persistent power supply disruptions over the past five years, primarily due to frequent attacks on critical infrastructure by insurgents. This dire situation prompted former President Muhammadu Buhari to instruct NNPC, now NNPC Limited, and other relevant agencies to find a sustainable solution.
Various options were explored, including building new transmission lines and constructing a solar power plant. However, these options had limitations, and the gas-fired power plant within the city emerged as the most viable and security-focused solution. The plant’s design allows it to operate on both LNG and diesel, with LNG as the primary fuel and diesel as the backup.