The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (FMPW&H), is shopping for suppliers to procure about 1.6 million litres of diesel with N400 million budget for the eight gas turbines at the 215 megawatts (MW) Kaduna Power Plant in Kaduna State.
Daily Trust reports that at an average retail price of N200 per litre of diesel, the Federal Government could spend N320 million on the 1.6m litres of diesel for test running the plant’s turbines. The price could further crash as the purchase entails bulk and wholesale supply, not from retail station outlets.
A procurement notice dated December 10, 2018 obtained by this paper showed that the diesel quantity being requested is meant to carry out what the ministry describes as “lube flushing” for the turbines and also to run two generators of 750KVA and 330KVA.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, had inspected the plant in November 2018 and said it was at over 80 per cent completion level. He said four of the eight turbines have been completed and ready to begin producing electricity to the national grid. But the procurement notice said the diesel was for the eight turbines.
He said: “We have also tested four of the turbines, preparatory for commissioning, so there are essentially four turbines that are ready to go.
“So, every megawatt we can deliver from this project, considering that each of the turbines is 25MW, is additional power,” Fashola noted.
The Project Manager, Rockson Engineering, the contractor, Mr. Sunny Okwedi, said although four turbines are ready for energising, they would need to wait for the Power Control Motor (PCM) to be installed and the switch yard must be ready.
“The PCM is already on site and from the discussion with our receiver managers, we are going to start the process of installation by next week,” Okwedi had explained.
The fuelling conundrum
Our reporter notes that the plant was originally conceived as a natural gas power plant modelled after the 10 National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) sited mostly in southern Nigeria. As the construction continued, there was the realisation that fuel availability was a challenge as no gas pipeline currently runs to the North, except for the crude trunk line from Warri to Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC).
In 2014, the then Federal Ministry of Power, now FMPW&H, said it was retrofitting the plant to take Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) which could be sourced from KRPC if it was operational. This paper reported that about 30 tankers of 33,000 litre capacity will be needed to run the power plant daily, which posed huge sustainability hurdle.
From 2016, the turbines’ fuel source compartment were again retrofitted to either take diesel or LPFO, Daily Trust gathered when our reporter visited the plant in March 2018.
Experts in the industry are already raising sustainability questions in the supply of diesel to the power plant considering the huge quantity required to run it.
Link rail line coming
However, the Federal Government seems to be aware of this as the 2019 budget of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) captures the construction of a new branch line link from the KM896 of the existing rail line to the 215MW power plant at Kudenda.
The project is enclosed in the ‘ERGP13127510’ for the rehabilitation of railway track sidings, loop lines and level crossings from Lagos to Kano with a vote of N598.201m for 2019.
The link line is about 10 kilometres to the plant from the actual rail line near Rigasa which also connects to KRPC in southern Kaduna.
The other puzzle is that the refinery itself did not operate up to 30 per cent of its capacity in 2018, data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) indicated, thus posing another hurdle for the consistent supply of diesel fuel to the plant by either by rail or by road.
Source: Daily Trust