Nigeria Sees Power-Plant Gas Shortages Taking Years to Resolve

Gas shortages at Nigeria’s power plants, about 70 percent of which are fueled by the commodity, will take years to resolve, according to Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
“We have lots of gas but we don’t have the pipelines” to transport it to electricity plants, Okonjo-Iweala said at a conference in St. Gallen, Switzerland on Friday. “We’ve encouraged private investors to come in. It will take a couple of years before we see progress.”
Peak electricity output in the West African nation, the continent’s biggest economy, reaches about 3,800 megawatts, with another 1,500 megawatts unavailable because of gas shortages, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission said in March. South Africa, which has a third of Nigeria’s population of 170 million, has eight times more installed capacity.
“Power is a big constraint on Nigeria’s growth,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, plans to quadruple the supply of gas in Nigeria by investing as much as $2.5 billion on pipelines running from the oil-rich Niger River delta region to Lagos, the biggest city, he said last month.
Carlyle Group LP and Blackstone Group LP, the world’s two biggest private-equity firms, and the International Finance Corp. may invest in the project, Dangote said.
In 2013, Nigeria broke up the state electricity monopoly and sold power utilities to companies including Korea Electric Power Corp. and Siemens AG in an effort to boost investment.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who lost an election to former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari in March and will step down on May 29, had pledged to improve Nigeria’s power supply.

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