The founder, majority shareholder and lead sponsor of the Azura-Edo IPP is Azura Power Holdings, an investment holding company for IPPs in Africa. Azura Power is building a portfolio of IPPs across the African continent with a vision to generate electricity to millions of people. The other co-shareholders of the company are ARM-Harith and Anergi Group.
+ What is the Azura-Edo IPP?
The Azura-Edo IPP is a 461MW open cycle gas turbine power station and the first phase in a 1,500MW Independent Power Plant facility that is being developed near Benin City in Edo State, Nigeria. The plant is being executed in three phases; Phase 1 is now over with the construction completed eight months ahead of schedule in May 2018; Phase 2 will be the conversion into combined cycle with a capacity of between 670MW; and Phase 3 will be an extension to Phase 1 and 2.
+ What are the key aspects of the Azura-Edo IPP?
The Azura-Edo IPP benefits from the following key strengths:
- Access to a secure and reliable source of gas. The Azura-Edo IPP is situated close to substantial mature and proven domestic gas reserves; it is also located only 1km away from the path of the country’s main gas trunkline, the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS).
- Access to evacuation capacity to the electricity grid. The location of the Azura-Edo IPP was specifically chosen to ensure that all the power generated can be safely and easily evacuated onto the Grid, as a result of close proximity to the existing Benin Main Sub-Station and the new Benin North Sub-Station.
- Support from the Edo State Government. The Edo State Government is a minority shareholder in the Azura-Edo IPP through its provision of land and infrastructure. Furthermore, the EDSG has been instrumental in helping Azura work closely with the local communities.
- Partnerships with the ‘best-in-class’. Azura has close partnerships with world-class suppliers, contractors, service providers and advisors who have deep experience in their respective industries and in operating in Nigeria/Africa.
- Commercial Power Purchase Agreement from the Nigerian authorities. Azura has signed a PPA with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading PLC (NBET), the Federal Government parastatal that has been established for the purpose of acquiring the bulk of the power generated from new IPPs.
- Strong financial support from the World Bank Group. The Azura-Edo IPP participates in the World Bank’s Partial Risk Guarantee program and has Political Risk Insurance placed with MIGA, both of which ensures the ‘bankability’ of the project to investors.
+ Why did Azura choose Benin and Edo State to locate its plant?
The management team of Azura did a comprehensive study of various locations in Nigeria before it decided to build its plant in the North Eastern outskirts of Benin City. The main reasons why this location was chosen were:
- Benin is seen as one of the country's key nodal points for evacuation with the city located within a radius of multiple high voltage transmission interconnections. Azura will evacuate its power through the adjacent Benin North Sub Station.
- The project site is located only 1km away from the path of the country’s main gas trunkline, the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS). Compared to building a dedicated pipeline, this means that significantly less capital and time is needed to connect the gas required to the power station. Furthermore, the capacity of the ELPS pipeline is being doubled from 1 billion scfd to 2 billion scfd through the addition of a second (twinned) gas pipeline which means that there will be sufficient capacity to transport enough fuel for Phase 2 of the project.
- This site has close proximity to Koko Port which has a proven capacity to handle the inward shipment of the heavy equipment required at the site.
- There is very good road access directly to the site and excellent road access between Koko Port and the site with bridges that have a proven capacity to withstand the transportation of heavy equipment.
- From an environmental and social perspective, there is minimum disruption to local communities and the environment resulting from both the actual site location and the routing of the second ELPS pipeline (which is using the same ‘rights of way’ as the existing ELPS pipeline).
- From a security perspective, Edo State, over the past two decades, has been less exposed to acts of civil disturbance than the other major oil and gas producing States in the Federation, thus providing a safe haven for both local and international workers.
+ Why does the Edo State Government have an equity stake in the project?
Azura has acquired approximately 100 hectares of land which is large enough to facilitate the construction of both phases of the plant. The Edo State Government (EDSG) has provided this land to the Azura project in lieu of a small minority stake in the project, equivalent to the value of the land and associated infrastructure support.
The land was compulsorily acquired pursuant to Sections 28 (1) and 38 of the Nigerian Land Use Act of 1978, the applicable legislation which in the main vests legal ownership of land in State governors in trust for the people. The actual acquisition process commenced with the revocation of all existing rights and interests in the land, and a call for comments and complaints from affected parties for the purpose of paying compensation. The notice of revocation of extant rights and the government's intention to make use of the land was published in the official Government Gazette of 16th June 2011 and national newspaper (Vanguard) and State newspaper (Observer) both of 23 June 2011. The land acquisition process was officially completed with the transfer of title to Azura by the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy in June 2012.
In addition, EDSG’s equity stake in Azura also enables the State Government to ensure that its and its peoples’ interests are aligned to that of Azura, thus promoting the corporate and social responsibility that both EDSG and Azura are committed to following.
+ What steps has Azura taken to ensure that local communities have been taken care of and that all key environmental and social issues have been addressed?
A considerable amount of Azura’s effort (and cost) is focused on this area.
It is of paramount importance to us (and indeed all our stakeholders) that no stone is left unturned to ensure international best practices have been followed and that all significant environmental and social issues are carefully addressed and actions put in place to manage any impact that arises as a result of the construction of the power station.
To this end, Azura works with leading experts such as ERM, a leading environmental consultant approved by the World Bank, to conduct the assessments that are required by the World Bank, IFC and all investors in the project:
- An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) which assesses all the key impacts on the environment and society in and around the location, and
- A Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) which assesses the impact upon the local communities that arise from the re-location of house-owners and businesses and specifies a very clear action plan on the steps required to relocate the communities as well as the levels of compensation payable.
Final copies of the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment and the associated Resettlement Action Plan are available for download from the World Bank’s site.
Azura has also prepared a Community Action Plan, with a leading NGO and ERM, to implement the recommendations of the ESIA and RAP. Furthermore, Azura is committed to providing long term support to the community and will shortly be conducting an assessment of the needs of the local communities to ensure that adequate resources are dedicated to those areas of support that are most needed.
+ Does Azura have a license for its power plant?
Yes, a 10 year power generation license was awarded to Azura by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in November 2011. A subsequent extension of 5 years was awarded by NERC taking the license term to 15 years.
+ Who is supplying gas for the power plant?
The gas for the Azura-Edo IPP is supplied under a long term Gas Sales & Purchase Agreement signed with Seplat Petroleum Development Company PLC (SEPLAT).
+ How will the gas get to the power plant?
The gas supplied to the Azura-Edo IPP will be transported via the country's main gas trunkline, viz. the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) which is run by the Nigerian Gas Company. The interconnection point with the ELPS is only 1km away from the Azura-Edo IPP.
+ How much will the plant cost and where is the money coming from?
This is a multi-million dollar project that has been financed from both equity and debt investors. There are 16 lending institutions providing the debt to the project and four equity investors.
+ Who built the power plant?
The Azura-Edo IPP was constructed by a consortium composed of Siemens AG; Siemens Nigeria Ltd; and Julius Berger Nigeria PLC.
+ When did construction begin?
Construction started on 5 January 2016. Operations began in May 2018, eight months ahead of schedule.
+ Who operates and manage the power plant?
Azura signed an agreement with PIC (Marubeni) who perform the role of the Operations & Maintenance Contractor. They report directly to Azura’s own management team who supervise and manage the operations and maintenance of the plant.
+ How is Azura managing the risks of the project?
There are a number of steps that Azura followed to ‘de-risk’ the execution and operation of the project. These include the following:
- Limiting the Company’s exposure to major supply chain constraints or interruptions - through its considered choice of site location; and through the purchase of political risk insurance and contingent business interruption insurance.
- Limiting its exposure to delays or deficiencies in construction – by agreements with its EPC contractor that will be heavily “back-end” loaded and by close involvement in the choice and management of the civil works contractor; and
- Protecting its revenue stream through World Bank & MIGA payment guarantees, letters of credit and contract termination insurance.
+ Who will buy the power generated by the Azura-Edo IPP?
A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) at fair commercial terms was agreed and executed with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading PLC (NBET), a Nigerian government entity that puchases the electricity supplied by the Azura-Edo IPP for on-sale to the country's eleven distribution companies.
+ Which parties are you working with to make this happen?
The development of a power station requires close cooperation with all the various Government bodies that have a commercial or regulatory interest in the industry. The key Ministries, Departments and Agencies with whom Azura interacts are the following:
+ Will there be any employment opportunities at the power plant?
Azura and its various partners directly employed up to 1,000 people during the construction of the power station with many more jobs being created in and around the communities as a result of more power being available to local businesses and government.