State-owned Sociedad de Electricidad de Guinea Ecuatorial SA (SEGESA) owns and operates the entire power sector, although the government has suggested that privatisation is possible in the future. Again, prior to the oil boom, miniscule generating capacity of 5 MW was provided by the 1 MW Riabo hydro scheme on Bioko and a 4 MW oil-fired plant in Rio Muni.
A 10.4 MW gas-fired plant was completed at Punta Europa in 1999 next to the Ampco plant. It is supplied with about 14m cubic feet of gas a day from the Zafiro Field and was expanded in phases to give current generating capacity of 148 MW.
The 120 MW Djibloho hydro plant has also recently been completed with $257m in funding from the Chinese government. The loan covered the entire cost of the turnkey contract awarded to Sino Hydro for dam construction and other construction and engineering work on the scheme.
In addition, 1,366km of transmission lines and several substations have been constructed to improve power supplies to urban centres in Rio Muni, taking total project costs up to $647m.
The venture’s generating capacity could be increased at a later date, while the 200MW Sendje hydro scheme is due for completion in 2015, thereby creating scope for exports to Cameroon and Gabon.
The electrification programme has supplied power to many urban inhabitants but more investment in distribution is required in rural areas. Bioko and Rio Muni have separate power grids with no prospect of connecting them because of the distance involved.
Oil and gas producers have their own independent power plants to supply their own needs. The country has about 2.6 GW of untapped, economically feasible hydro potential that could be developed to supply neighbouring states, if sufficient regional transmission capacity can be developed and long-term power purchase agreements concluded between the various state-owned power companies involved.
All countries in the region possess substantial hydro capacity but the big stumbling block is securing the required investment. With higher GDP per capita, Equatorial Guinea could be in a better position to fund its own schemes, despite the greater hydro potential held by its neighbours in Central Africa.