Natural Gas, the Future of Energy in Nigeria – Cummins Energy Solutions

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Generators are complex machines that require specialist maintenance. Conducting regular and preventive service on the generators will ensure constant availability of power and also yield the best asset life. In this interview, Mr. Kamran Abbasi, Head of Aftermarket Service & Support at Cummins Energy Solutions Nigeria Limited spoke about how aftermarket and service support is important in every country. Excepts…  

Natural Gas, the Future of Energy in Nigeria – Cummins Energy Solutions-marketingspace.com.ng
Cummins Gas Generator-marketingspace.com

Tell us a little about yourself Kamran?

I started my career with Cummins in South Asia as an Engineer in 2001, rising up to Country Service Manger. I then joined Cummins West Africa in 2010 to develop the gas generator aftermarket business and provide technical support to customers operating on gas.

In 2012 I was part of the founding team of Cummins Energy Solutions Nigeria, the exclusive Cummins gas product distributor in country, to Head up Aftermarket, with the sole goal of establishing a world class service department.

How long have you worked with Cummins – what do you enjoy most about your job?

I’ve worked with Cummins for over fifteen years today – it feels like home. I’m passionate about new learning opportunities, technological inventions and making use of small things wherever possible – hence servicing generators is a perfect job!  Our team at Cummins is also very diverse – we have a good blend of Nigerians, South Africans, Asians, Filipinos, British and Italians, making the workplace an interesting environment.

Working with different nationalities, you also become versatile in understanding people’s approach and way of thinking – which is also a very important success factor.

Why is aftermarket so important in Nigeria?

Aftermarket and service support is important in every country, and nearly every industrial product for that matter. Generators are complex machines that require specialist maintenance.

Conducting regular and preventive service of the generators not only ensures constant availability of power, but also yields the best asset life. We have 14 year old Cummins gas generators operating well in Nigeria due to good maintenance.

After sales support is particularly important in Nigeria because of counterfeit parts, inappropriate service standards and lack of proper diagnostic tools to maintain & service the genset. As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), we receive much training from Cummins Inc. and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and best practice.

What are the main challenges you face in servicing gas generators in Nigeria?

Sometimes time accessibility at site can be an issue due to bad roads and heavy traffic, although by enlarge we don’t face too many problems. We have the largest gas after sales service team in country and good parts inventory so that we can quickly respond to issues. We are the official Cummins Africa gas product trainer and hold workshops at our Mushin warehouse.

What distinguishes Cummins gas generators in the market?

Cummins gas engines are particularly suited to ‘island mode’ applications (off grid) as they can handle load spikes better than other generators. So in a market like Nigeria where most power is de-centralized, whereby homes and factories have their own power generating equipment, Cummins gensets are well suited to these types of applications. Here are the main benefits: Trusty machines for island mode (off gird), Load carrying capability, Quick recovery after heavy load spike, High electrical efficiency (up to 44%), Long lasting (gas sets operating for over 14 years), Low duration, Low methane numbers required for operation and Higher maintenance intervals

How many gas generators have Cummins installed in Nigeria?

Cummins has the largest fleet of gas generators in Nigeria and was the pioneer in developing the gas to power market for industrial customers. There are over 200 Cummins gas generators installed across Nigeria, with over 260,000KW (i.e. 260 MW) generating capacity.

In your opinion, which is the best Cummins gas generator in Nigeria?

QSK 60 (1160 KW) – it is the most installed gas generator in Nigeria (over 90 installations). The QSK60 meets the two core criteria clients seek – reliability through continuous power availability and high efficiency, which reduces operational cost. The QSV 91 (2000 KW) is also a great engine, particularly strong in heavy industrial applications such as steel and plastics.

What type of services do you offer?

We offer Gas Generators (40 KW to 2000 KW), Technical & field service support, Annual Maintenance Contracts for servicing of generators, Life Cycle Operations and maintenance contracts, Installation & Commissioning services, Genuine spare parts, Training (overseas & local), Warranty coverage, Energy saving initiatives for factories such as waste heat recovery systems and Compressed Natural Gas (via Powergas).

We also offer a fully outsourced power service (IPP) through sister organisation Cummins Power Generation Nigeria, whereby we invest in the power plant and supply electricity to large industries and residential estates.

Which are the best performing sites that your team manages?

Our plant availability across sites that we fully manage averages over 99% for the full year – this is the best of any gas IPP in Nigeria.  A 14 MW power plant we service and operate in Lagos has been down for less than one minute since commissioned 3 years ago – it operates on fully synchronised Cummins gas and diesel generators.

What are the main benefits of operating on natural gas compared to diesel?

The benefits are continuous running machines –built for 24×7 power, not standby, Low operating cost – long service intervals, Low operating cost – price of natural gas is nearly one third of diesel, No fuel storage problem, No fuel pilferage, Environment friendly and Reduced emissions as compared to diesel engines. I strongly believe gas is the future for power generation in Nigeria – it is clean, cost effective, reliable and domestically sourced – hence boosts the local Nigerian economy.

Where is Cummins looking to invest to improve its service capability in Nigeria?

Cummins is regularly investing in Research & Development – in fact we invested over $735 Million in 2015 in R&D globally. This translates to improvements in generator performance, engine efficiency and durability – and hence even stronger service standards.

On a local Nigeria level, we have four key focus areas to improve service: Continue to invest in training our operators and engineers on the ground.

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Introduce remote monitoring technology at more sites – here we monitor plant performance remotely – enabling Cummins to identify any potential upcoming breakdowns as well areas for efficiency improvement. Big data is very powerful.

Expand our offering beyond the Generator room to energy saving initiatives within customer premises. For example, we pioneered waste heat recovery systems (combined heat and power) in Nigeria, whereby the waste heat from the engine is used to generate additional electricity or for internal process such as steam or cooling.

Develop an extensive service network across West Africa. Cummins has a good presence across Nigeria and we are now providing gas generators and service support in Benin Republic, Togo & Ghana.