It is the cause of a huge amount of frustration and anger among ordinary Nigerians that a country with the rich natural energy resources of ours is still failing to deliver a safe, efficient and above all reliable power supply. For too many people living in our country, daily power cuts and intermittent supplies are a reality – and an often dangerous one at that.

An unreliable supply

“When we are talking about doctors having to rely on power from generators, or an hospital operating theatre not being able to rely on having a steady power supply during a life-saving procedure – then things are clearly very wrong,” says our Chairman Mr Onajite Okoloko. “For a country with our resources it is unacceptable to have such an unreliable energy infrastructure – but it is not enough to shake our heads and to complain about it. In the private sector, working alongside our partners in the government, we have the expertise and the resources to make a difference – and here at Midwestern Oil and Gas we also have the all-important will to help to make that step forward a reality.”

Deep-rooted problems

There are a number of long-standing issues that have led to the current energy infrastructure situation in Nigeria. One is vandalism, and the sabotaging of pipelines – a situation that thankfully has stabilised recently. In addition, less than adequate policy making over the years by successive governments has also left us with a situation in Nigeria in which the power distribution infrastructure is relatively unplanned and poorly maintained. General levels of maintenance are also low, and assets such as pipelines and power plants are not operating at the levels they need to be.

An opportunity for change

It’s clear that solving Nigeria’s energy infrastructure is a pressing need – not just because by doing so it will transform the lives of millions of ordinary Nigerians – but also because it will be a major boost to our economy. A steady and sustainable energy supply is simply a given in any successful economy – it helps businesses to operate efficiently and to grow, and it helps our people to feel safe and secure enough to want to build for their futures. A report by the Overseas Development Institute says that “Power outages cost African countries an estimated 1-2 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually”.  That is a stark illustration of how serious this problem is – and how we need to overcome it as quickly as possible.

Investment required

“Investing in and developing a coordinated plan between the oil and gas industry and government to build on and maintain our energy infrastructure is crucial,” says Mr Okoloko. “But it’s also critical that we get the right mix of energy supply working together correctly in our country – we have natural gas, oil, solar, coal, wind and hydro resources all in abundance in Nigeria, but currently we’re not making the best use of any of them to provide a steady energy supply.

“Ultimately, these changes require a real cultural shift – in our approach to the organisation and maintenance of the power assets we already have available – but also in terms of our willingness to start to cooperate more between different energy sectors in order to provide an effective and sustainable energy solution for Nigeria.

“Much of this comes down to the need  for a clear vision – a roadmap that lays out the steps we all need to take in order to make a reliable and sustainable energy supply for our country a reality. This overarching direction, of course, must come from the national government, but it is also the responsibility of the private sector to look beyond competition and to work together for the good of all Nigerians.”

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