Nigerian gas-fired power project hits further roadblock

Nigeria‘s Senate has said a gas-fired power plant in the country cannot be commissioned as planned in January after an inspection found poor-quality work at the site.

During the inspection at the 215 MW Kaduna plant site, a Senate committee reportedly found that there was no fuel or firefighting equipment on-site, that a letter of credit to enable purchase of a power control module had been improperly funded, and that only three transformers out of the necessary four were present. à‚ 

The $186m plant, which features eight simple cycle turbines from GE, is being built by a consortium of GE and Nigerian EPC firm Rockson Engineering. Fast-track deployment is supported by the country’s power ministry but questioned by the Senate.

The inspection was part of a move by the Senate to “further examine the situation” after a hearing last month on a dispute over the gas supply contract. During the hearing, gas firm Greenville LNG said it had invested $400m after signing a MoU with the power ministry, which had then decided to run the plant on diesel.

Committee chair Senator Bassey Akpan was quoted by Nigerian newspaper ThisDay as saying the safety standards at the plant were a crucial roadblock.

“GE already said their warranty does not cover the use of the turbines without fire equipment being in place,” he reportedly said. “It is stipulated in the contract, as required before startup. The manufacturer’s advice must be followed.

“Why is the ministry in a hurry to inaugurate, without recourse to the highest safety standards,” he added.

And Senator Adesoji Akanbi reportedly noted that the power ministry’s recent decision to run the plant on diesel rather than LNG could result in both safety and legal issues.

“Some persons somewhere are interested in commissioning this project hastily,” Akanbi reportedly said. “We have waited this long, we must ensure all safety measures are on ground. If something happens when the turbine is started, it could lead to loss of the entire investments.” à‚ 

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