Cement manufacturing giant Lafarge Africa has joined forces with Finnish power plant supplier Wartsila to build a 220 megawatt (MW) gas-fired power station in Nigeria.

The World Bank’s IFC will provide financial support and advisory services for the US$400 million project, Reuters reported this week.

The plan is for Lafarge Africa to add the 220 MW power plant to its existing 90 MW plant, which is used mainly for its cement operations in Nigeria.

The plant supplies about 40 MW of excess power already, so once the new plant is built about 260 MW will go to the national grid under a power purchase agreement.

Under the terms of the deal, Wartsila will build and manage the power plant, while Lafarge Africa, the Nigerian arm of the world’s biggest cement maker, will manage the project.

Speaking at a news conference, the three organisations said they planned to help fast-track an increase in power supplies to the national grid and expected to provide more electricity to about 1.4 million households in Africa’s most populous nation.

“The project will open a new avenue for Nigeria’s power generation … allowing for fast-track expansion for new capacity that can supply the national grid,” the IFC said.

Private-sector making own power

The move shows the level of frustration within the private sector with the slow pace of electricity distribution companies improving the reliability and consistency of the electricity supply.

Local conglomerate Transcorp, with interests in power, oil and gas, has said it will invest US$90 million to upgrade the generation capacity of its power plant to 715 MW from 463 MW.

Energy firm Forte Oil, which paid US$132 million to buy a 414-megawatt power plant under the government’s privatisation scheme, is also expanding.