By Oke Peter
President Bola Tinubu on Friday performed the groundbreaking ceremony of the first phase of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) 1350 Megawatt (MW) Gwagwalada independent power plant (GIPP) project in Abuja.
According to the NNPCL, the Gwagwalada Independent Power Plant Project is a 1,350MW combined cycle power plant with auxiliaries and a balance of plant to be situated on 547 hectares of land already acquired at Gwagwalada, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
It said the GIPP was necessitated by the need for delivering gas towards additional power generation capacity in Nigeria.
The GIPP project, according to NNPCL, consists of three powertrain blocks of 450 MW each.
The NNPCL said each block would include two General Electric (GE) GT13E2 gas turbine generators, two heat recovery steam generators (HRSG), one steam turbine electric generator, one direct air-cooling condenser, a balance of plant equipment and a black start diesel generator.
On completion, the NNPCL said the GIPP Project will generate an average of 10.3 million Megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity per year for sale to the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET).
“The sales of the generated power will be through Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the NBET to distribution companies (Discos) under long-term agreements and direct sale to major off-takers.
“ChinaMachinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) will construct the project under a turnkey Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) contract.
“The GIPP Project will be operated by an experienced company with a proven track record under an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) contract. GE will be engaged for the Long Term Service Agreement (LTSA) that will include ongoing guarantees of availability, heat rate, and output,” the NNPCL said.
It said the projected gross revenues within the project’s first ten years are expected to be around USD 700-800 million per year.
“The Project will also benefit from improvements to the national transmission system under FGN’s long-term plan for transmission upgrade,” the oil company said.
In his speech shortly before performing the groundbreaking, Mr Tinubu described the project as a “bold step” towards fulfilling the promise to provide clean and efficient energy to Nigerians.
“The ground break is highly significant to the nation as it is now the first bold step in this administration on the effort to establish its throne to acquire the energy sector that will drive the economy.
“Energy is the most important discovery for humanity in the last 100 years. There is no life without power. And what we need to drive the renewed hope agenda.
“During my campaign, I committed Nigerians and promised to make the distribution of stable electricity a priority of this government.
“To use all available energy sources to increase power generation beyond the current capacity to strengthen the integrity of our transmission infrastructure and to ensure that all distribution bottlenecks will be removed. We can not become a productive economy unless we become efficient,” he said.
He explained that Nigeria cannot become a productive and industrialised economy, tackle poverty and pay manufacturing jobs unless it can generate, transmit and distribute reliable electricity.
“To accelerate our economic growth, we must remove every obstacle on our way to progress. That as this project a taking off, too early in the lifetime of this administration, to serve as a notice to the residents of Abuja and indeed to all Nigerians of our determination to bring positive change into this nation.
“The recent strategic partnership between NNPCL and NIPCO Gas Limited to deploy compressed natural gas stations is another excellent example,” the president said.
“The landmark collaboration will expand Nigeria’s CNG infrastructure, improve access to CNG and accelerate the adoption of a cheaper and cleaner alternative fuel for buses, cars and Keke Napep. Under this NNPCL and NIPCO partner, 37 stations of CNG will be constructed nationwide, including three Mother stations. Once fully operational, a station will have the ability to service 200,000 vehicles daily,” he added.
In addition, Mr Tinubu said Nigeria would continue to vigorously pursue the implementation of other low-carbon energy such as solar, hydro, thermal and bio-fuel for both on-grade and upgraded power systems and to remain focused on rural electronification to improve the standard of living for people in rural communities and energies their social, economic opportunities.
Therefore, he said the investment of NNPCL and its partner in the isolation of an additional 350 MW would improve the energy supply to homes, and businesses, help catalysed economic employment and ultimately renew the hope of energetic citizens.
“I hereby urge and encourage a team that is positive to do our job. The three years project, much be three years. Nigerians are watching, and they are anxious about all the promises made, and these promises must be kept,” he said.
In his address, Mele Kyari, the NNPCL group chief executive officer, said Nigeria is endowed with significant natural gas resources of over 209TCF of proven gas reserves and potential reserves of over 600 TCF.
“As a commercial enterprise, NNPC sees this project as an opportunity to monetise our abundant natural gas resources by expanding access to energy to support economic growth, industrialisation, and job creation across the country,” Mr Kyari said.
To achieve this national aspiration, he said NNPC has invested heavily in domestic gas footprint expansion projects through the delivery of the Trans-Nigeria Pipeline Project (TNGP), which includes the Escravos to Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS & ELPS Il), the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) gas pipeline and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline.
“This project is a giant step towards achieving NNPC’s gas & power mandate to add 5GW into the National power generation by 2024.”
Currently, he said NNPC and partners are delivering about 800MW to the national grid from Afam VI and Okpai Phase 1 thermal power plants with a combined installed capacity of 1,100MW.
“We have also completed the Okpai Phase 2 project that will add up to 320 MW of power to the national grid and progressing with other power plant projects across the country, including those along the AKK pipeline route,” he added.
Mr Kyari explained that the Gwagwalada IPP is among the NNPC flagship power projects along the AKK corridor.
“This is part of the 3,600 MW cumulative power capacity, which includes Kaduna IPP (900MW) and Kano IPP (1,350MW).
“The project will be delivered in collaboration with General Electric (CE) as the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and China Machinery and Engineering Corporation (CMEC) as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contractor.
“Just as we have recently commissioned the 50MW Maiduguri Emergency Power plant (MEPP), NNPC will continue to replicate similar viable business opportunities across the Nation to ensure energy affordability.
“We know that expanding access to energy will change the game. It will create a better investment climate and promote balanced economic growth, a win-win situation for the Nation and NNPC as a commercial energy company,” Mr Kyari said.
The NNPCL had in December 2017 announced its plans to build three natural gas-fired power plants in the country.
In 2019, the company started the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project.
In November 2019, the then minister of the Environment, Muhammad Mahmud, commended the NNPC on the proposed plant project to boost electricity supply in parts of the nation.
Speaking during a Panel Review Meeting on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project, the minister said the project was critical to the federal government given its numerous potentials to improve the power situation in parts of the country.
“Certainly, this project is one of the critical infrastructures that the federal government is making efforts to embrace,” Mr Mahmud said at the time.
In February 2020, NNPCL and the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) signed a $1.16 million grant for the gas-fired power plant project.