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Business News of Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Full delivery of gas to Aboadze to delay

The planned full commissioning of the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant to deliver 120 million standard cubic feet (scf) of gas daily to the Aboadze Power Enclave will not be achieved by the deadline of December 31, 2014 by the operator, the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas).

It is currently considering other options, which are to be made public, in order not to run into additional cost after the agreed commissioning period in the contract with the contractors.

Officials of Ghana Gas say full commissioning of the plant could be bonded to the operational difficulties of the Volta River Authority (VRA), for which reason it had other plans to ensure that the commissioning was completed to confirm the planned design capacity of the processing plant.

The Head of Corporate Affairs of Ghana Gas, Mr. Alfred Ogbame, told the Daily Graphic that the company had other plans to proceed with the commissioning.

“It is important to note that we cannot wait until the VRA units are fully ready. We have to adopt proactive measures to avoid cost,” he said.

He said it was important to note that the commissioning process could not be perpetual and that it had to end somewhere per the contract with the contractors.

“Therefore, if the VRA’s machines will be ready in seven years, does it mean we have to wait for seven years?” he asked.

One of the reasons the VRA could not receive gas beyond the current volume was that some of the units at the T2 plant are still running on the expensive light crude oil.

It would be recalled that the Energy Commission and the Petroleum Commission, according to Ghana Gas, had granted Ghana Gas its current permits which allowed it to flow up to a maximum 150 million scf.

Ghana Gas, however, said in a statement signed by its Board Chairman, Dr Kwesi Botchwey, and issued on December 17, 2014 that to reach that flow level, the VRA was expected to confirm its readiness to take the higher flows.

“The absence of enough functioning generating units at the VRA enclave at Aboadze and compressor trippings on the offshore facility, the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, are two key issues Ghana Gas has been concerned about,” he said.

Mr. Ogbame indicated that the VRA had confirmed that it was not ready for the volume until its units were up, for which reason Ghana Gas had to think of alternatives.

A check by the Daily Graphic at Aboadze indicated that the VRA’s current daily gas demand sent to Ghana Gas was estimated at 57 million scf.

This is because the T1 and T3, which are currently generating 243 megawatts (MW), are using 100 per cent gas from Atuabo.

A source close to the VRA indicated that units one and two of T1 generated 105 and 50MW, respectively while steam from unit two added 33MW, with 46MW from the T3 plant.

It said currently TICO’s one unit, which was running over 100MW, was on light crude oil (LCO) and that even though it was also commissioned to run on gas, it was yet to receive gas from Atuabo.

“The issue here is that we have to go down and come up with the second unit of the T2 to cover the shortfall, or we will be hit hard. Therefore, we are working hard to ensure that by mid or the end of January, the other T2 unit will come up with gas, and then we can go down with the current unit on LCO and switch to gas,” it said.