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ABUJA, March 29 (Reuters) - Nigeria's state oil company plans to move into power generation and transmission, its chief said in a statement on Wednesday, as the firm tries to resolve the country's long-standing power problems.
Despite regularly taking the top spot among Africa's oil producers, Nigeria's power generation and electricity grid are plagued by a lack of investment and poor infrastructure which leaves many people dependent on private generators.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) wants to transform "from an oil and gas company into an integrated energy outfit with interest in power generation and transmission," said Maikanti Baru, the firm's group managing director, according to the statement.
The NNPC's "decision to diversify into the power sector was hinged on the need to bridge the huge energy gap in the Nigerian market," Baru said, according to the statement.
The statement gave no details of the amount the NNPC plans to invest or any indication of a timeline.
Nigeria privatised most of its power sector in 2013 but retained control of the dilapidated monopoly grid operator, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
If the country's power plants operated at full tilt, the transmission network could not handle the load. (Reporting by Paul Carsten and Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Mark Potter)