THE Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association, NLPGA, is worried that the importation of substandard gas cylinders into the country is deterring genuine investors in the business. Dayo Adeshina, president of the association, said the trend was also discouraging the use of cooking gas in homes. According to him, “the Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, market is dominated by those who are cutting corners in order to remain in business.” Adeshina pointed out that imported cylinders did not stand the test of time, especially in our society with poor maintenance culture.
“In the recent years, tens of thousands of LPG cylinders have been imported into the country and some of the cylinders were certified by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON. Some cylinders were also smuggled into the country by desperate businessmen with little or no recourse to standard requirements,” he said.
Adeshina alleged that substandard cylinders like the 12.5kg size, were selling between N1,000 and N2,000 less than the certified size. “Unfortunately, the unsuspecting buyers often prefer the substandard cylinders in order to save money.” In this regard, he explained, the association needed the cooperation of the SON and other stakeholders, such as the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers to curb the menace.
He blamed the present situation on the lack of coordinated efforts of the stakeholders. “The effectiveness and successes of the Indonesian model of making cylinders affordable to the end-users have been acknowledged by stakeholders in Nigeria’s LPG industry. Our West African sister country, Ghana, has experimented on a similar model and successes were recorded,” he said.
Many Questions, No Answer
THE National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has vowed to do anything within its powers to stop the federal government from carrying out its planned sale of the refineries in the country in the first quarter of 2014. Igwe Achese, national president of the union, said the hastiness with which the federal government perfected plans to sell the refineries without exhausting all means of making them work was questionable.
He said that the sale would be met with all measures of resistance by the union. “We are not against selling the refineries but we are against the hastiness. We want to ensure that the federal government is not hasty in mortgaging the future of Nigeria by selling the refineries. If it must sell the refineries, Nigerians must sit at a round table and properly exhaust all avenues of saving them. But where selling becomes inevitable, we must know how and who they are being sold to,” he said.
Achese expressed dismay that as the sixth largest producer of hydro-carbon, Nigeria was planning to sell its refineries. “Why are we selling them? Why are we importing fuel? Where are the bye-products being taken out for refining? Who is consuming them? Where is the revenue accruing from them?”
The NUPENG president recalled that the union joined other forces to fight for democracy in the country, adding that as oil is the bedrock of the economy, the union would not fold its arms and watch lapses in the oil industry. He said NUPENG had already informed the National Assembly formally on how best to manage the refineries. Achese said those saddled with national responsibilities were expected to ensure that the noble dreams of President Goodluck Jonathan for Nigeria were actualised.
Sale of Refineries: FG Ready to Negotiate
DIEZANI Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, has said the federal government was ready to discuss and negotiate with organised labour in the sector with a view to ensuring a smooth sail in the privatisation of the nation’s four refineries. She explained that adequate room had been made in the privatisation timetable for engagement with all stakeholders to resolve all labour issues to ensure a win-win situation for all.
Oil workers under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, have opposed the federal government’s plan to sell the nation’s refineries. But the minister had insisted that the nation’s four refineries would be put up for sale by the first quarter of next year.
She said that the government was going ahead with the original plan to rehabilitate the refineries to be able to get a premium price from their sale, adding, that the negotiation rounds for Port Harcourt refinery had already been completed in terms of turnaround maintenance.
According to her, “the privatisation of the refineries will come in the first quarter of 2014. At this point in time, the negotiation rounds for Port Harcourt refinery have already been completed. As you know, we started with the turnaround maintenance with the original contractors who built the Port Harcourt refinery and this was with the intent of ensuring that the right people carried out this TAM once and for all. Unfortunately, the actual negotiations have been a long drawn out one because of the prices they came up with. It has taken a number of months of very aggressive, robust negotiation to get to the point with Port Harcourt Refinery where we can actually begin to implement the work. Port Harcourt is now on the move in terms of TAM and once that is close to completion, Kaduna and then Warri will continue,” she said.
Competition for Innovation
SCHNEIDER Electric, a global specialist in energy management, has floated an annual competition designed to encourage innovation in African students worldwide. The competition known as “go green in the city global business,” is open to students from African countries and is aimed at developing innovative energy solutions for the cities.
For this year’s edition, a total of 217 African students, representing 21 countries, have already signed up for the challenge. There are 83 students from Nigeria, 29 from Algeria, 23 from Morocco, 18 from Ghana, 17 from South Africa and 12 from Egypt. Students from engineering, business schools, master’s and MBA programmes in Africa and from across the globe who are interested in participating have until February 15, 2014, to register at: http://www.gogreeninthecity2014.com/.
Speaking about the competition, Mohammed Saad, President of Schneider Electric in Africa, said: “The young generation in Africa is increasingly aware of the mounting electricity and energy needs which go hand in hand with social progress and environmental protection. This growing interest by African students is key for Schneider Electric. The challenge lies not only in producing more electricity, but also in generating smart energy so as to enable intelligent growth in Africa.”
Go green in the city 2014 is consolidating its reputation as the leading global challenge for green energies aimed at students from Africa and across the globe. To date, more than 1,744 applications representing over 81 different nationalities have been received. To enter the competition, students are expected to register in teams of two. There must, however, be at least one female member in every team. Each team must submit a business case illustrating their idea as a viable energy management solution for one of the five main urban sectors which are: residential, university, commercial, water and hospital.
In order to receive expert tips for their business case and gain unique insight into the global leader in energy management, students can now take part in a creative challenge, via an online questionnaire. The 100 best teams will be short-listed on February 28, 2014, and have one month to work with a mentor from Schneider Electric to present a synopsis and video outlining their business case.
The top 12 teams will then be invited to Paris in June 2014, to take part in the final. The winning team will travel to various Schneider Electric sites across the world and meet with staff and management from the Group. They will also be offered a permanent position within the group.
Partnership for Sustainable Energy Supply
SCHNEIDER Electric, the global specialist in energy management, and DONG Energy, one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe, have signed an agreement to cooperate on a technological and commercial partnership for a more sustainable energy supply to remote islands in Africa. The ambition is to enable African electric network operators of remote or isolated island grids to increase the share of renewable used while maintaining grid stability and reliability for consumers.
Of the world’s fifty-two small island developing states, SIDS, six are in Africa. They include; Cape Verde, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Mauritius, São Tomé and Príncipe and Seychelles. These countries range in size from the smallest, Seychelles, which is composed of 115 small islands representing the largest number among African SIDS, to the largest, Guinea Bissau, which comprises close to 80 islands.
In Africa alone, at least 300 remote islands distanced from mainland grids exist. These isolated island grids are often heavily diesel-dependent, incurring high electricity costs and subject to fluctuating fuel prices. This is a barrier for local economic development, for improving living standards and for reducing carbon emissions. Many island utility operators aim to replace diesel with renewable generation to reduce costs and reach renewable targets. However, the main challenge of integrating intermittent renewable energy is the ensuing complexity of balancing the grid and maintaining reliability and stability. In effect this can cap the amount of renewable energy which can be efficiently integrated.
With Dong Energy’s virtual power plant technology and Schneider Electric’s market-leader distribution grid field devices and management systems, the partners will address these crucial environmental issues. The aim is to create a new platform offering real-time generation and demand forecasting, monitoring and control.
Evert den Boer, senior vice president, DONG energy says: “DONG Energy has developed a virtual power plant system called power hub, which aggregates loads and generation capacity for network flexibility through a software platform. The system has already successfully demonstrated its capability and value in optimising, balancing and improving the stability of remote micro-grids at the Faroe Islands. Integrating power hub with Schneider Electric’s power and grid management software platform will enable us to deliver a unique solution that address an important challenge of how to run an isolated electricity system in a safe, economically optimal manner, while making maximum use of renewable energy.”
On his part Frédéric Abbal, executive vice president of Schneider Electric’s energy division, said: “Alongside DONG Energy, Schneider Electric will bring its market-leadership expertise in grid field devices, network automation and grid management systems in a uniquely modular approach to virtual power plants in order to overcome the operational challenges of dynamically balancing supply and demand. Our joint architecture includes advanced distribution management system ADMS, power control system, PCS, and renewable control centre ,RCC, applications offering real-time generation and demand forecasting, monitoring and control. Thanks to weather and load forecasting and fast load shedding capabilities, island utility operators will be able to operate sustainable, efficient and economically viable power systems and benefit local communities.”
Schneider Electric enjoys active collaborative partnerships with utilities to test and validate innovative solutions endeavouring to solve their operational, environmental and regulatory concerns. Schneider Electric’s global footprint in more than 100 countries and unique position on both the demand and supply side of the grid will connect all energy players.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu and Vincent Nzemeke
— Dec. 23, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT