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Nigeria has no business with energy poverty — Minister

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By Matthew Denis, Abuja

The Minister of State Gas Resources, Ekperikpe Ekpo has emphasised that Nigeria has no business with Gas poverty.

The Minister made the disclosure while delivering his speech at the Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES) held in Abuja on Thursday.

He said, “Today we’re talking about gas which is the direction to flow and I believe with the faces I’m seeing today you will really articulate what we need to move the gas sector forward.

“Nigeria has no business with  energy poverty and if you’re to verify it you will see that it’s the truth. So I called on all the stakeholders to contribute meaningfully to the session.”

The Minister stressed that the global call for energy transition is a wake up call for Nigeria as a nation with abundant resources that we’ll raise up to take our position in energy and develop the sector where it’s supposed to be.

“When we’re able to meet the local demands as well as exports for revenue generation we need the country. I believe we have competent people that are manning the sector.”

Mr. Ekpo appealed to all the critical stakeholders to collaborate together with the government to fix the gas industry and take Nigeria to greater heights for generations to come.

“We are always on ground 24/7 to sort your problems.  We will ensure that whoever is not doing the right things is made to do what is right,” he added.

“We thank our colleagues in the process of resolving these issues, the NERC, NEMSA, and the DISCOs themselves for finding time to come here.

“We give you the reassurances that we will do whatever that is within our power to resolve your issues and whatever that is not resolved please report to us.

“We are here for customers, so feel free to let us know your problems, and we will resolve them,” he emphasised.

In his remarks,  Area Inspecting Engineer, Ikeja Network, NEMSA, Mr Salami Afeez assured FCCPC of the agency’s continued collaboration with the commission in delivering on its mandate as a technical enforcement agency for the energy sector.

Salami also said the agency had alway and would continue to go round Ikeja Disco’s network to monitor the defects in its network.

“As consumers, if you see any threatening points in this network, please do not hesitate to call us.”

Also, NERC representative, Mr Chukwunonso Okwuosah commended FCCPC for putting the customers’ complaints forum together.

“We are constantly appealing that customers should come with an open mind and understand that Ikeja Electric will act as guided by the regulation.”

A representative of Ikeja Electric, Mrs Jolaoluwa Adewale, also thanked customers for their patience and cooperation.

She applauded FCCPC for arranging the forum that brings stakeholders closer to our customers.

“We have noted your complaints and feedback and will continue to work hard to resolve them.

“What you have today is our commitment and resolve to ensure that we will continue to be fair to our customers and also align and cooperate with the laws of the land.

“One of things I would like to encourage our customers is with the issue of accountability and collaborating with us when it comes to energy theft. that is becoming more and more rampant in our society.

“This is by ensuring that those in your communities that steal energy are held accountable,” he said.

One of the customers, Mr Anthony Iteghete, said, “We are very happy and pleased to see this kind of forum.

“We wish it would go around the nation, so that we can have time to ask them some questions and tell them our needs.

“I am here because I paid for meter since August 2023 and I have not seen it.

“I sleep without light. I want you to address this because IKEDC said that they have no meter. But, they are having my money,” he said.

Mr Samuel Ogidan, a customer, also said, “We have been paying close to N1.5 million every month and all of a sudden they jack it up by about 100 percent. They keep changing every three months in order to meet their own target.

“We have been asking them what their target has to do with our own billing? They blocked us from having a meter, a pre-paid meter, and from moving on with our business.

“They do not want us to have access to a prepaid meter. The FCCPC is handling it at the moment. Initially, we are at the court, but the court asks us to settle amicably,” he said.

Energy

Kyari emphasises role of gas in driving economic growth, industrial development

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The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) Mr. Mele Kyari, has reiterated the crucial role of natural gas in fueling economic growth and industrial development in Nigeria.

Kyari spoke at the public presentation of the book “The Rise of Gas: From Gaslink to the Decade of Gas” authored by Engr. Charles A. Osezua, which highlighted gas’ global acceptance as a crucial energy source that sustains economic growth and drives industrial activities.

Represented by NNPC Ltd.’s Head of Relationship and Stakeholder Management, Mrs. Oluwakemi Olumuyiwa, the GCEO also emphasised the importance of documenting Nigeria’s gas sector.

The GCEO underscored the significance of prioritising natural gas production and supply, particularly in the context of geopolitical dynamics and energy security in the global economy.

With Nigeria boasting substantial gas reserves exceeding 200 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and the potential to reach 600 Tcf, the GCEO said it is pertinent that Nigeria leverages the gas resource for sustainable development, energy security, and job creation.

He noted that the book aligns with the Federal Government’s “Decade of Gas” initiative, aimed at optimising Nigeria’s abundant gas reserves for both domestic consumption and international export.

Kyari added that, as a key stakeholder, NNPC Ltd. has played a leading role in advancing the “Decade of Gas” agenda through strategic investments in critical gas infrastructure such as pipelines and processing facilities.

In his remarks, the author, Engr. Charles Osezua, who described the unveiling of “The Rise of Gas” as his contribution to Nigeria’s energy literature, expressed gratitude to the NNPC Ltd. for its support towards the book launch.

Osezua said NNPC Ltd.’s participation at the occasion underscores the company’s commitment to fostering knowledge sharing and innovation within the gas industry.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Impact Investors Foundation and former Group Executive Director of NNPC, Engr. Afolabi Oladele, lauded the book for its comprehensive insights into the gas value chain, saying it will be relevant to policymakers amid the global energy transition.

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Energy

Low crude production responsible for revenue loss —PETAN

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The Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria has claimed that the country is losing a lot of revenue daily due to its inability to ramp up crude oil production.

The Chairman of PETAN, Wole Ogunsanya, stated this in Lagos recently when the representatives of the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria, led by its Chairman, Ugo Amadi, paid a courtesy visit to PETAN.

He reiterated the association’s resolve to support the efforts of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration toward increasing Nigeria’s oil and gas production for maximum value.

He said the vision of PETAN was to support the authorities to ensure that all the values existing in the oil industry stay in Nigeria.

According to Ogunsanya, if Nigeria could retain between 60 and 70 percent of the oil and gas value chain in the country, it stands a better chance of being among the top 20 economies in the world.

He expressed concerns that Nigeria was losing a lot due to its inability to produce up to its oil production capacity.

He pointed out that the country was underproducing to the tune of at least 500,000 barrels per day, which he said was a huge loss to the country.

The PETAN leader maintained that such losses would not have been possible if there had been full in-country retention of values and beneficiation across all the chains of the industry.

He explained, “Essentially, if Nigerian organisations are involved in taking that oil out, taking it to a refinery owned by Nigerians and refining it, if we have petrochemicals refining the gas and the product, we are taking that gas; processing it in power plants; and running pipelines to connect all those power plants. This country will be among the top 20 economies in the world.

“And we believe very strongly that there is no better prescription for Nigeria’s economic solution than that.”

Reiterating PETAN’s commitment to support the retention of those values, he acknowledged the Presidency’s high interest in increasing production.

He pointed out that the Presidency had given the directives and formulated a lot of gazettes, stating that PETAN aligned with those initiatives.

Ogunsanya further said, “Our intention is to support this government, and this country to increase the production of oil and gas. I presented this vision to the whole house of PETAN exactly a week ago and the vision is very clear. PETAN wants to support Nigeria through innovative means to increase the production of oil and gas in this country.”

He acknowledged the challenges facing the industry in Nigeria, including funding, logistics and others.

He noted that his association cannot make progress with some of its plans without collaborating with energy correspondents.

“We cannot do without you. Our message cannot resonate and cannot get across without your partnership with us.

“Essentially, we both need each other. PETAN needs you to tell that story, to sell what our vision is to help the situation we find ourselves in. We are going to support you as PETAN, as we have done in the past. I give you that assurance, we will work with you immediately,” he told the NAEC representatives.

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Energy

High tariff will lead to electricity theft — FCT residents tell FG

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Some electricity consumers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have appealed to the Federal Government to review the new tariff  downwards to avoid electricity theft.

Some of the consumers who are mainly business owners  told journalists on Wednesday that if the cost of electricity remained high some of them consumers might bye-passing their meters.

Recall the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had announced an increase in electricity tariff paid by Band A customers from N68/KWh to N225/KWh.

Band A customers are those who enjoy electricity supply for at least 20 hours per day.

The consumers, mainly printers, who do operate mainly at UTC and Murg Plaza in Area 10, FCT said that they use heavy equipment in doing their jobs hence their electricity consumption is high.

According to them, if they have to pay N225/KWh this will greatly affect their jobs making it difficult for them to cope with the present economic situation in the country.

Mr Amos Okolo, a printer, said that it was good that the government plans to give them 20 hours of electricity in the new tariff but the cost is too high for any business person.

Okolo said that by the time he purchases electricity with the huge money, nothing would be left in his business to cater for his family.

“I am appealing to the government to review the tariff downward as such increase can lead to some consumers bye-passing their meters and this is not good for Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC),”he said.

On his part, Mr Samuel Kolawole, also a printer, said that the cost indicated in the new tariff was so high that it could negatively impact businesses.

He said that the government should try and reduce the tariff so that it can benefit the rich and the poor people.

According to him, 20 hours of electricity is good for business owners as this will reduce the cost of buying fuel or diesel for generators but the pricing should be business friendly.

“We are appealing to the government to reduce the tariff to what we can afford so as to benefit everyone,” he said.

Also speaking on the issue, Mr Abel Ajibola, also a graphic designer at Murg Plaza said that the government means well for the people but the new tariff is outrageous, especially for small business owners.

Ajibola said that he would be glad if the government could review the tariff so that electricity consumers would not be tempted to start stealing electricity.

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