Nigeria is yet to have a stable supply but provides electricity to some of its neighbours. Nigerians hold the belief that, in addition to Togo, Benin and Niger Republic, the country supplies stable electricity to Ghana. A video being circulated online claims that Ghana gets its electricity from Nigeria.
The claim that Nigeria is providing electricity to Ghana is false. The country, which is among those that have stable power supply in Africa, buys gas from Nigeria, which is in turn converted to electricity by its power plants. This transaction only makes up 25 per cent of its source of power.
A feature of Nigeria over the years has been its inability to provide adequate electricity supply to its citizens to power their homes and business. Despite the country having abundance of gas to enable it to generate electricity, the ability to distribute power due to infrastructural and financial constraint has led to the utilisation of one-third of its generation capacity as 4500 megawatt of electricity is consumed daily from the 13,000megawatt generation capacity it has.
Nigeria’s situation often takes a comical trajectory with the country supplying some of its neighbours electricity. This sounds ironic as the country that is yet to satisfy its appetite is magnanimous to give out to other countries a sought-after commodity.
A report by Stears and Sterling stated that Nigeria spent $14billion to fuel generators to provide alternative energy; and to the chagrin of many, the country provides electricity to some of its smaller neighbours.
Recently, a video was posted on WhatsApp, enumerating the 10 countries with uninterrupted power supply. It stated that Ghana, which is number one on the list, got its electricity from Nigeria.
The video was accompanied with the caption, “What a pity!” Nigeria is not in these 10 countdown countries. The number one will shock you.
This drew a comment, “Ghana gets most of its electricity from Nigeria, yet Nigeria is not on the first 10.”
A check on X, formerly Twitter, using a key frame, also churned out posts that showed that some Nigerians have the notion that the country supplies electricity to Ghana.
A user on the platform, Gen Mike, commented on a post that Ghana would give in to a request because it enjoys free electricity from Nigeria.
The post reads, “The Ghanaian government will, or most likely give in to the Nigerian government since she gives it electricity for almost free. And some other economic benefits Ghana gets from Nigeria will likely cause Ghana to cave in, directly or overtly.”
Does Nigeria supply electricity to Ghana?
While Nigeria plays a role in the interrupted power supply to Ghana, the country only sources 25 per cent of the gas used in electricity from Nigeria, according to a report by Business Day.
This supply is contractual as the country pays for gas, which is supplied through N-Gaz, a joint venture company owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, Shell and Chevron, and is delivered to the country through the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP).
To ensure that the gas is paid for, the company threatened to stop transferring gas to Ghana in 2015 due to default in payment of $170bn bills from 2012 to 2015.
According to Reuters, if the gas had stopped flowing to the country, “it would have made it harder to achieve the government’s goal of ending power outages this year and could have raised supply costs.”
Ghana mulls sell of electricity to Nigeria
It is pertinent to note that Ghana has abundant supply of electricity it exports. Recently, its Head of Generation and Transmission Unit, Ministry of Energy, Hanson Monney, said the country was willing to sell the commodity to Nigeria to meet its energy requirements.
It is said that Nigeria has the highest deficit in Africa with 90million people lacking access to it.
Monney, in an event in September in Lagos, said Ghana had, through a robust policy formulation and implementation, achieved between 80 to 85 per cent universal energy access in the country.
He said the Ghanaian government was exploring all options, including grid energy, mini-grid and the solar-dominated renewable energy, to achieve the country’s “universal access to energy by 2024, and the president has charged that.”
“So, we are working on all these things to make sure that the power system of Ghana continues to be as good as it is or even better, and then, maybe, we can be exporting more to our big brothers in Nigeria when the grid is finally settled. So, ladies and gentlemen, this is an overview of the Ghana power system and challenges,” he said.
How gas is converted into electricity
According to an online publication, ETN news, natural gas must be processed before it can be used, but the extraction varies in terms of composition and quality.
“Normally, water vapour, gases such as LPG and propane, and other undesirable substances like mercury and hydrogen sulphide, are separated. Before natural gas was used on a commercial basis, the gas extracted in connection with oil extraction was burned off or “flared”, thus not electricity yet.”
It added that, “Natural gas is used to create electricity in one of two ways. After it has been extracted from the earth, it is transported via pipelines to a specialist facility. At the specialist facility, impurities such as helium and carbon dioxide are removed before taking it to a power plant where it drives a steam turbine or a combustion turbine. Both methods generate electricity – although the latter is more efficient.”
It said natural gas was not only used to generate electricity as it is often used as a domestic cooking and heating tool, via gas-fired hobs and central heating systems. “It can be used in homes with no access to mains electricity and can even power cars and airplanes.”
Countries Nigeria sells electricity to
According to the managing director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Sule Abdulaziz, Nigeria, through the company, exports electricity to Niger, Benin and Togo under a country-to-country arrangement.
Abdulaziz, who is also the chairman, Executive Board of West African Power Pool (WAPP), said the move enabled the federal government more foreign exchange for national development.
In 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stated that the country earned $155.56m from electricity exportation.
In another occasion, Abdulaziz, an enginner, said Nigeria had about 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which are unutilised daily across the generation companies (GenCos) and sold to neighbouring countries.
Speaking on the benefits, the WAPP chairman noted, “Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these countries because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian GenCos. So, from that, the revenue is going to be enhanced and a lot of people will be employed in Nigeria.”
Also, the managing director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET), Nnaemeka Ewelukwa, said the exportation, apart from its financial gain, was for strategic reasons.
Ewelukwa, during an appearance before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance in the Ninth Assembly, reiterated that Nigeria sold electricity to Niger Republic, which is driven by specific generation companies like the NDPHC.”
He said one of the core reasons for exporting electricity to the countries was due to the damming of the rivers Nigeria sourced its hydro electricity from.
He noted that Nigeria had dammed the river and it did not provide electricity to upstream countries, thus, they could also build their dams, which would create a major crisis for the country.
The claim that Nigeria supplies electricity to Ghana is false. The country only purchases gas from Nigeria, which it converts into electricity.