· Omogiafo says more competitors free to join, after Ugheli and Afam acquisitions
By Ignatius Chukwu
Nigeria’s power sector investment opportunities are said to be too vast for current investors.
The meaning, according to those already investing in it, is that more investors or competitors are really needed.
This hint dropped in Afam near Port Harcourt (Oyigbo local council area) where a facility to stop repair of gas turbines abroad was commissioned by the new owners, Transcorp Group.
The President and CEO of the group, Owen Omogiafo, who inspected the Afam complex (one to five) and commissioned the Rotor Repair/Cleaning Centre, gave hints about the sector.
Saying the group’s first power sector investment was in Ugheli, she said the group was ready to move deeper and wider in the sector.
On Ugheli, she said: “Our first investment in power was the Ughelli Power Plant in 2013 where we acquired it at the capacity of 160mw. As we speak, we are generating over 600mw. We are now contributing very strongly to Nigeria’s power sector.
“It is the success of that investment that encouraged us to invest in Afam Power Plant despite the challenge of gas supply. It’s on record that we recovered Afam V GT20 in September last year (2022).
“We have added another 138mw to the national grid (48 plus 138, total 188mw).”
Now, Transcorp Group seems to eager to invest more. Omogiafo said there is no worry about competitors because the power field is wide and open and may have only been scratched on the surface.
She revealed a bit more: “Our target is for us to be the leader in the power sector space and we are looking at the entire value chain.”
She said when Transcorp started in power, they looked at 25per cent of the sector. “We invested billions upon billions of naira. It’s a very expensive venture.
“We are looking ahead and we want to build local capacity. Before now, to repair a gas turbine, we would have to ship it abroad but now, we have built and commissioned our own Gen Clean Room for the maintenance of these turbines.”
By this capacity, the first of its kind in Nigeria, the gas turbines would be repaired in-country. On whether other gas turbine companies can bring theirs to Transafam Power in Afam for repairs, she said it is a suggestion worthy to look at. “You never can say never, but for now, it’s for our own plants”.
The strides in Afam and the power sector, she said, are about fulfilling purpose which is improving lives and transforming Africa.
She revealed thus: “We have four more gas turbines ready to operate as soon as we have gas. Discussions are on with stakeholders for gas to be provided.
“I have just been informed that we are heading to Afam III Fast Power which is aerodynamics technology. This is expected to bring additional 240mw this year.
The national power grid is thus being boosted by 378mw from the Afam one to five.
This is as sensitive repair centre has been opened at the complex to repair the gas turbines’ most sensitive unit, the rotor, in-country, thus saving massive foreign exchange spending to send them abroad for repairs every year.
The plant is now owned by the Transcorp Group which acquired it almost two years ago with about N105Bn.
Omogiafo disclosed that Transcorp met 48mw but has so far added 138mw and will soon add another 240mw this year to bring all to 426. The installed capacity of the five plants is 966mw.
By the commissioning that took place on January 30, 2023, the 966mw Afam power plants can now be reactivated, cleaned and overhauled in Nigeria.
Unveiling the new facility, Omogiafo said the investment would also save time and logistics needed to move gas turbine rotors abroad.
She mentioned huge logistics costs to move the rotors abroad and back, plus time lost, manpower that would have been developed in-country, and local labour lost.
Omogiafo inspected the entire complex and new facilities nearing completion, and later announced the readiness of Transcorp to invest across the power value chain.
Describing the Afam investment as a success, she said the group was encouraged by the acquisition of the Ugheli Power Plant many years earlier.
Giving details about capacity and output now available at Afam (1-5), Omogiafo said: “It’s on record that we recovered Afam V GT20 in September last year (2022). We have added another 138mw to the national grid (48 plus 138, total 188mw).
The MD of Transafam Power Limited, Engr Vincent Chukwudi Ozoude, said they have just commissioned the generator clean room to repair gas turbines. “We use the facility to repair generator rotors that will help us minimize the timeline of getting generator rotors out of the country to repair and then bring them back to Nigeria.
“We have saved the cost, time, logistics, labour and capacity development opportunities by having this clean room here.”