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Business News of Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Cenpower introduces new drilling technology

Contractors working on Cenpower’s 350 megawatt Kpone Independent Power Plant (KIPP), Group Five, have introduced a new technology of drilling and tunnelling in engineering practice in Ghana.

The Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) creates different sizes of tunnels underground without digging the top soil. This makes it environmentally friendly and shortens work duration.

Group Five, the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contractors commissioned by Cenpower Generation Company Ltd, deployed the services of Coleman to construct a tunnel into the sea for water inflow and outflow. The sea water is required to serve as a cooling system for the Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power plant.

“We have come to a very critical stage in the plant’s construction. The sea water pipelines for the cooling water system cannot be constructed manually using conventional open-trench techniques. This specialised equipment minimises the environmental impact it and it is the first time it is being deployed in Sub-Saharan Africa,” the Contracts Director of Group Five, Mr Stephen Tricket said.

The Vice-President of Ghana, Mr Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, inaugurated the machine at the project site at Kpone where launching shafts have already been constructed using the TBM.

Mr Amissah-Arthur expressed satisfaction with the technology and project and said that it would help the contractors to meet construction deadlines, thereby helping to create more reserve margins for the country’s power generation.

“Our task is to tunnel four drives, starting from two launching shafts constructed on the seashore. Two of these tunnels will be straight and underneath the seabed (offshore), while the other two tunnels will be curve-shaped and onshore under the natural ground to the plant,” the Managing Director of Coleman Microtunnelling, Mr Noel Kerr, said at the inaugural ceremony.

The arrival of the TBM, according to engineers, opens up very interesting possibilities for engineering and infrastructure development in Ghana and in industries such as oil and gas, transport, water and sewage management.

“This technology can be used to construct underground passages and tunnels without destroying top-level surfaces and can be used to eliminate the construction of open-sewerage drains,” Mr Kerr explained.

The Chairman of Cenpower Generation, Mr Samuel Nana Brew Butler, indicated that 13 months of work (45 per cent of the timeline) had delivered 43 per cent of the construction, with the first set of gas turbine generation and auxiliaries having been installed.

Mr Butler said close to 800,000 man hours of work had been expended with zero injuries. The plant will have a 161kv power sub-station, as well as fuel delivery, treatment and storage facilities.

When completed, the KIPP which engaged in a unique financial engineering that has since won international awards, will supply up to 20 per cent of the country’s power needs.