Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has called for an expedited repair of the strategic terminal operated by Shell, and the activation of an alternative process to ameliorate the gas supply deficit as he is concerned about both the loss of gas supply to power plants in the country and significant loss of potential revenue arising from the damaged Forcados Export Terminal.
Speaking over the weekend when he visited the Forcados Terminal in Delta State, Prof. Osinbajo accompanied by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, said President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned about the damage done to the terminal in February and asked him to visit and assess the situation which has been responsible for the recent drop in electricity supply in the country.
The president is equally concerned that the gas projects under the disposal of Shell meant to beef up domestic supply of gas in the country needs to be speedily completed.
Osinbajo who met on Friday with top officials of Shell that runs the terminal and senior NNPC officials after they flew over the location of the terminal told the officials “what is going on here affects the Nigerian people and the economy,” referring to the loss of gas supply to power plants and the loss of potential foreign exchange earning arising from the inability to produce over 250,000 barrels of oil per day, due to the damage done to the terminal.
“The damage done to Forcados affects our oil earnings but also as important is the power aspect. It (Forcados)-is a major source of gas, about 40% of our gas supply is affected leading to the problem of power supply in the country,” the Vice President said to Shell officials led by Country Chairperson, Mr. Osagie Okunbor and NNPC officials led by Mr. Bello Rabiu, the Chief Operating Officer for Upstream.
Prof. Osinbajo said at a point few months ago power supply in the country had peaked at an unprecedented 5000MV, but now has dropped significantly including instances of system collapses, showing that this is “a real problem.”
“I came here on the instruction of the President who is concerned about the damage done to Forcados. I came here to see for myself and underscore the great implication for the nation’s economy. Many people don’t even know that power supply is hampered by what is going on here,” Osinbajo said.
While expressing gladness at the seriousness of purpose he observed from the plans drawn up by Shell and NNPC, the Vice President asked Shell to do “whatever else can be done and do it as expeditiously as possible,” to repair the damaged terminal.
A repair plan presented to the Vice President during the visit by Shell indicated that the repair work which is in three phases is about concluding its first phase with expectation that the repair would be concluded in May-next month. Meanwhile, NNPC also presented an interim alternative plan to supply gas to the plants including trucking condensate.
He expressed the concern of the federal government that IOCs that seat on 80% of gas deposits in the country have not been as forthcoming regarding gas supply to the domestic market.
“Even if it is as a matter of public service,” Prof Osinbajo encouraged the IOCs to do a lot more for domestic gas supply considering the gas supply problems in the country, stressing that “we are clearly suffering in terms of domestic supply.”
For instance, he cited the need for Shell to speedily complete the Bonga and Forcados/Yokri gas projects in order to assuage the plight of the Nigerian people. According to him, “the president is particularly concerned about this outstanding gas projects.”
The Bonga Gas Diversion project would provide 120mmscf/d when completed by the second quarter of this year, while the Forcados/Yokri gas project would provide 80mmscf/d at completion expected at the same timeline. There is also the Assa North/Ohaji South project which can also provide 500mmscf/d.