OTHER - 28 MAY 2021

Top energy articles on Stears Business

Top energy articles on Stears Business
Energy stories on SBL. Source: Stears Business

Nigeria’s energy sector has always been opaque and confusing. In general, not many people really understand what is going on. 

Take the oil and gas sector, for example. 

Last year, the government said it was no longer paying petrol subsidies, and then a few months later, Buhari set aside ₦720 billion to pay subsidies for six months. This news also coincided with some confusion over the price of petrol. On different occasions this year we have heard reports of a rise in petrol prices without any actual movement in prices. 

The power sector is no different. One day electricity tariffs are set to increase, then Labour groups complain to the government and the plans are dropped. 

From the fundamentals of the sector to the day to day news stories, the energy sector is not easy to grasp. 

With recent stories on the government’s plan to buy a stake in Dangote’s refinery and the tussle between state governments and the NNPC on petrol subsidies, we decided to collate our top energy articles. 

After reading the fundamentals explained in these articles, news stories should become easier to understand going forward.

1. Hell or high water: Transporting crude oil to the Dangote refinery 

The first article on the list is one of our top 5 most-read articles in the last year. Dangote’s refinery has been a hot topic in the energy space, and the Nigerian government is currently looking to buy a 20% stake in the project. In this article, we look at one of the many issues that the refinery would face: transporting crude oil. You see, Nigeria’s refineries have struggled not just because of poor maintenance but also because of the difficulties supplying them with crude oil. Will Dangote’s refinery be any different? 

Read the full article here


2. How sanity got restored to Nigeria's petrol imports 

One of the murkiest sections of the energy sector is in the business of importing petrol. For years the Nigerian government was bamboozled into paying importers money for petrol that they didn’t actually import. It has been a rugged activity, to say the least. Players in the space were reported to have even kidnapped a previous finance minister’s mother after she tried to clamp down on the corruption in the space. This story is about how the NNPC cleaned the sector up. 

Read the full article here 


3. Nigeria's shaky power problem 

Why does Nigeria have electricity problems? To answer this question, you need to understand the constraints within the three main sub-sectors of the power industry: generation, transmission, and distribution. This article focuses on transmission. Last year, an intern joined our team and worked on this piece. Solamipe found some valuable data in the trenches of the Nigerian government to show where our main power generating constraints are. 

Read the full article here 


4. Electricity transmission: A guide to Nigeria's complex issues 

Now you understand Nigeria’s problem with generation. But the story doesn’t end there. Even if we generated enough electricity today, we wouldn’t have the capacity to send it to everyone. Why? Our transmission lines. In this piece, we spoke to experts in the industry to uncover the issues we have with “transporting” power. 

Read the full article here 


5. NBET and the looming debt crises that's keeping your lights on 

Finally, distribution. Even after solving the generating and transmission problems, there are power distribution issues to address. Interestingly, the problem here is less about infrastructure and more about money. 

Read the full article here 


6. The Nigerian story of expensive electricity bills 

Sticking to the distribution narrative, one major reason distribution companies struggle with money is that customers do not pay them. In 2019, only 70% of customers paid for the electricity they received. In fact, some government ministries owe over ₦100 billion in electricity bills. Some customers don’t want to pay for electricity because they believe electricity should be free. But most people don’t pay because their bills are estimates, and they disagree with them. This story centres on Nigeria’s electricity meter problem. 

Read the full article here 


7. Nigeria's subsidy story: The end of an era?

Last year, when the Nigerian government announced that it was ending the petrol subsidy, we warned that it was too early to jump to conclusions. 

We were right. 

Read the full article here 


8. Kicking the subsidy habit 

“The end of petrol subsidies” has been announced many times before. This Stears Business classic from 2017 reminds us of our previous attempts to end the subsidy. Reading this piece, it's hard to tell that it's over four years old. 

Read the full article here 


9. From Shell to Seplat: Nigerians joining the oil production party

Nigeria's path changed significantly when Shell-BP found oil in 1956. Arguably, it has been the most impactful event in our economy. Interestingly, most of the producers of Nigeria's oil are foreign-owned companies. Nigerians have gotten their share of petroleum wealth from the downstream sub-sector, i.e. importing, transporting, distributing and selling petroleum products to end-users. The most substantial profit margins, however, are from crude oil extraction. Recently, more Nigerian companies are trying to get in on the action. In this story, we explain what locally-owned marginal oil fields are, and its implications on the industry.  

Read the full article here 


10. Powering up rural Nigeria: The grass-to-grace story of Rokota village

To end, we look at a story that might be a signal for the future. With almost half of Nigerians living in darkness, many have concluded that off-grid solutions might be a better option for our power crisis. Both the private and public sector are running with the idea of mini-grids to provide electricity to small towns and villages. In this piece, we tell this story using Rokota village as a case study. 

Read the full article here 



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Stears Insights Team

Stears Insights Team

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