Delta community lays foundation of Independent Power Plant (IPP)

By Kelvin Ohoror

Uzere, an oil-producing community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, recently laid the foundation of a two Mega Watts Independent Power Plant that will generate electricity for the first community where oil was discovered in Delta State and second in Nigeria.

While laying the foundation, the traditional ruler of Uzere Kingdom, HRM Isaac Odhiwhu Udogri I, said that the Uzere IPP project is aimed at powering the entire Uzere Kingdom with the gas being generated within the Kingdom.

He charged the contracting company, SafeConnect Investments Limited, to ensure that the job is delivered to specification and also within the duration of time given for the commissioning of the project.

Speaking in an interview with journalists, the CEO/Managing Director of SafeConnect Investments Limited, Engr. Michael Ikoro Ekpoh, said SafeConnect, a 3-in1 company, specialised in properties, oil and gas, and power, is the company contracted to build the Independent Power Plant project for Uzere Kingdom.

“As you know, Uzere is an oil-producing community. The second community where oil was discovered in Nigeria and the first community where oil was discovered in Delta State and Isoko land. So the joy we have here today is that Uzere is making another laudable history, in the sense that Uzere is the first community in Isoko land to lay a foundation for a 2 mega Watts Independent Power Plant.

I must tell you that we are starting with a 500KWH Gas generator for them. This shall be expandable to 2mW within a space of time.

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“Uzere has suffered so long in terms of land (soil) degradation as a result of gas exploitation. So now they want to transform the kingdom into a paradise and the only thing they can use to do that is for them to have an uninterrupted power supply. This Project is in three milestones.

The first milestone of this project is for us to order for the gas generator. And we are not to buy from “off-the-shelve, the manufacturer has to manufacture the plant to specification. This shall take 26 weeks.

“Then concurrently we will build the power house. The power house comprises of 4 compartments of 500KWH each making the 2 mega Watts plant; a Standard Digital Control room and the administrative office; to work with relevant regulatory and agencies for permits and regulatory requirements and to embark on infrastructure and customer enumeration. These are other segments of the first milestone.”

Engr. Michael Ekpoh further stated, “The second milestone is, today Uzere is linked to an 11 KVA power distribution network, so we are going to step up the output for the gas plant from 415 volts to 11 KVA line. Then we will now link it to the 11KV network and the entire Uzere will have light. The other segment of the milestone is for us to procure a step-up transformer. A 415 to 11 KVA transformer. Then the fourth thing we are going to achieve in the first milestone is for us to do an infrastructure customer enumeration for Uzere. Those are the things that make up the first milestone.

“The second milestone is for us to build and equip the control room. While the last milestone is for us to receive the generator through the Onne Port. We will do the clearing and bring the machine to the site. Then we will now do what we call mechanical and electrical installations. When we have completed that, then it will be set for commissioning. Commissioning is to ensure that we try to power up the internal network in segments until the entire community is hooked up to the distribution network.

“One other thing in the third milestone is to sanitize the distribution network in order to ensure that we don’t have frictions or obstructions for us to be able to distribute power seamlessly to the entire community and the consumers.  So basically, that’s what the project is all about.”

While commenting on the sponsorship of the project, Engr. Michael Ikoro Ekpoh said, “Uzere has taken a very bold decision about the revenue that accrues to the community by virtue of the fact that they are oil producing community. The GMoU they have with the oil companies operating in the community, instead of spending the funds on other things, they have so done some set of austerity measures to bring everything together and channel it to fund the IPP Project.”

He advised other Isoko oil-producing communities to take a clue from what Uzere has done so that Isoko will be better placed and Isoko will be a land for investment, noting that, “there is nothing in this life that is not doable; So, the other oil producing communities should take a clue and we should learn.”

He opined that “in this dispensation in the paradigm shift that we are going, when the oil producing communities have enough power, they can be able to share to other communities that are non-oil producing communities and there will be even distribution of power around Isoko land. The oil-producing communities can make it. Isoko can make it. Delta State can also make it.

“I am assuring the people of Uzere that, this IPP Project will be complete within the next 7-8months, and this light will be on because we have gotten all machineries needed for the project on ground.

What would have been a challenge is the issue of funding but with the zeal of the Uzere President General and his executives, the King and his cabinet of chiefs, the Uzere IPP Project sub-committee led by Odio Bashorun Askia Ogieh, these people have really stood and supported this programme. They have assured us that funding will not be a problem.

“We have also structured the milestone in a way that we can mitigate against hyperinflation that is presently ravaging the country. The things that we know that are inflation striking, we try to bring them to milestone one so that inflation will not rob us of the success of this project.

We also make sure that we give allowances to the unstable exchange rate. The success of Uzere IPP Project will proliferate and open the gateway to investments in Independent Power Project (IPPs) and SafeConnect Investments Limited is always available to render its services to other Isoko oil producing communities, Delta State and the nation at large that are ready to take a cue from Uzere.

“The problem of power in Nigeria is solvable. A little extra and concrete strategies with wisdom from God will do the magic.”

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