* Escravos Lagos pipeline fire shuts grid
* Power blackouts common across Nigeria
* Putting out fire might hit supply to three states
(Adds detail, comment from oil and gas firms, others)
ABUJA, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Nigeria's electricity grid has been
shut down by a fire on a gas pipeline, the ministry of power
said on Wednesday, as the country's power infrastructure
continues to struggle.
Gas supply to several power stations was cut off because of
the fire on the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System near Okada in the
southern state of Edo, the ministry said.
"The sudden loss of generation due to interruption in gas
supply from these stations caused the national transmission grid
to trip off around 20:20 on 2nd January," it said.
The outage went unnoticed in parts of Nigeria, where
blackouts are common and many businesses and households are
forced to rely on their own power generators or, for the less
wealthy, not have any electricity.
The country's dilapidated power grid is often blamed for
hobbling growth in Africa's largest economy.
Nigeria's state oil firm, which owns and operates the gas
pipelines, said it was working to restore gas supply on the
affected pipelines, which feed power plants in the country's
Putting out the fire "might lead to a complete shutdown of
the pipeline segment" and hit gas supply to customers in the
three southwestern states of Lagos, Ondo and Ogun, the company
That will shut down power plants generating 1,143 megawatts
of electricity, it added. Nigeria's total power generation
capacity is about 7,000 megawatts.
Most of Nigeria's power generation is from thermal power
stations that use gas, according to the power ministry.
"Once the national grid is restored, output from the
hydroelectric power stations and all other unaffected gas-fired
thermal power stations will be increased to the extent possible
to minimise the impact of loss of generation from the affected
power stations," it said.
Some businesses were not affected by the blackout, while for
others the outage went unheeded.
Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas - a joint venture between the
state oil firm, Shell, Total and Eni
- was unaffected, a spokesman said.
In the city of Bauchi in northeast Nigeria, the grid outage
went unnoticed because people have already had weeks of power
Balarabe Musa, a metalworker in Bauchi, complained that
hours-long blackouts were eating into his wages. "I can't use a
generator to do my job, I need a constant power supply for
welding metals," he said.
Government offices in Bauchi rely on generators, but high
fuel costs mean they are too expensive as an alternative for
Hairdresser Mama Ngozi said: "I can't continue running the
salon if the power failures continue like this."
(Reporting by Tife Owolabi; Additional reporting by Ardo Hazzad
in Bauchi and Alexis Akwagyiram in London; Writing by Paul
Carsten; Editing by Adrian Croft and Jane Merriman)
First Published: 2018-01-03 12:51:20
Updated 2018-01-03 16:56:32
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