Industries require reliable energy to operate optimally. When energy supplies are unreliable, it can interrupt manufacturing processes which ultimately leads to a loss in revenue. Organisations are therefore increasingly looking at spreading their risk and supplementing their energy supply to ensure that they can continue operating should the country’s grid go down.
Leading West African cement manufacturer, SOCOCIM Industries has signed a 7-year deal with energy provider Aggreko Africa to diversify their energy supply using natural gas. According to Mourtada Diallo, Director of Power Plants at SOCOCIM Industries, they needed to augment their existing energy sources to ensure business continuity and drive efficiencies.
“Energy accounts for more than 50 percent of the cost of manufacturing cement,” he says. “In the past, we relied on diesel generators and the country’s energy grid for electricity supply. That meant that if the grid went down, our manufacturing would be interrupted.”
SOCOCIM requires 50MW of power for the plant to operate and the company uses three different sources of energy, namely a diesel power generation plant, the country’s grid, and the gas-generated power from Aggreko. “When there was enough exploitable gas, we generated 27MW of power through Aggreko. However, due to the depletion of onshore gas wells, this has dropped to 9MW – a shift that shows Aggreko’s flexibility in adapting the technology and production of energy to the quantity of gas available,” says Diallo.
SOCOCIM is also investing in gas exploration initiatives to increase the amount of available gas. “We are working on increasing gas reserves in the future. As more gas rises, we will increase our power generation with Aggreko, because we know that we can cut the cost of energy-generation by roughly 21 percent by using gas.”
He concludes that Aggreko Africa’s solution gives them energy reliability, drives down costs, and improves business continuity. “We needed to improve our efficiency. We partnered with Aggreko in 2008 to achieve this and, with this new contract, we will have close to 20 years of collaboration with them. As more gas becomes available, we hope to generate even more energy using this cost-effective method. Our goal is to eventually become self-sustainable in energy generation and go completely off-grid.”