24th May, 2015
Social and economic activities in Nigeria is gradually grinding to a halt as acute energy crisis is forcing many businesses to either completely shut down or scale down their operations.
While most petrol stations across the country have remained under lock and key as a result of the disagreement between the Federal Government and oil marketers over subsidy payments, electricity being generated by Nigeria has also crashed to an all time low of 1,327 Megawatts for over 150 million citizens.
A national strike by the junior workers in the oil industry by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas, NUPENG whose members are keeping vigil to ensure that there is no dispensing of products at the petrol stations meant most companies who relied on diesel to power their operations cannot get it, though the product was not being subsidised.
The management of Nigeria biggest telecommunication network, MTN announced on Saturday that the diesel scarcity in most parts of Nigeria is posing a significant threat to quality of its service as well as its ability to optimally operate the network.
According to the Corporate Services Executive Akinwale Goodluck, “most of our base stations and switches are powered round-the-clock by Diesel Generators and the current fuel shortage has drastically reduced the availability of diesel fuel supply to key locations”
He added that MTN’s available reserves of diesel are running low and the company must source for a significant quantity of diesel in the near future to prevent a shutdown of services across Nigeria.
“If diesel supplies are not received in the next 24 hours, the network will be seriously degraded and customers will feel the impact,” added Goodluck.
Godknows Igali, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Power disclosed the alarmingly low Nigeria electricity output on Friday, blaming it for epileptic electricity supply across the country.
Igali along with Power Minister, Chinedu Nebo had briefed Vice-President Namadi Sambo about the situation of things before speaking to State House correspondents in Abuja.
He said the ongoing strike by Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas has further worsened the power supply situation.
The workers were protesting the transfer of the operatorship of the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42 to two indigenous companies, claiming the move would affect the fortunes of NPDC and its staff.
“With the strike which has gone on for one or two days there is dramatic turn as of this afternoon we have gone down for the all time low to 1,327 megawatts.
“So, if you look at it from 4,800 there is dramatic turn, the loss is terrible,” Igali said.
He said as at 12 noon May 22, 2015, Utorogu, CHEVRON ORE DO, OBEN gas plants were all shutdown while UGHELI and CNL ESCRAVOS were already isolated.
He said, “on the eastern axis Shell Gas, ALAKIRI has also been shutdown. This has led to the several power plants being stranded and shutdown.
“This includes EGBIN, OLORUNSHOGO I & 11, OMOTOSHO 1& 11, GEREGU I & 11, IHONVOR and SAPELE (NIPP) on the western axis and ALAOJI on the eastern end.”
According to him, besides, pipeline vandalism which has continued to have very negative impact on the power supply situation in the country, the ongoing strike by the labour unions in the oil and gas sector has added additional toll.
“The overall effect is that power supply which had started picking up steadily since the beginning of the week following repairs of various vandalised portions of the ELP Line and the Trans-Forcados Gas Pipelines, has fallen to all-time-unprecedented low of 1,327m was at 1.00 p.m. May22, 2015.
He, therefore, warned that “situation could get worse if the strike continues”.
Igali expressed the hope that the ongoing discussion between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and, the labour unions, would end amicably.
Indeed, it is hoped the labour unions will help restore supply of gas to the power plants even while negotiation are ongoing.”