-SINOPEC assures As Nigeria Disrespects Supply Agreement
Lead Contractors for the Ghana Gas Processing Plant, SINOPEC; have given assurance that gas will start flowing by the last week of April, this year, exactly three months from now.
The assurance, was given at a site visit-meeting, between the Energy Ministry, led by the Minister, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Jubilee Field Partners and the Volta River Authority (VRA) at Atuabo in the Western Region.
This comes at a time when Nigeria, has once again cut down on the volume of gas supplied to Ghana to power generators and turbines, forcing the country into Emergency Load Management according to The Herald’s sources at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.
The Nigerian authorities have in an unannounced approach cut down gas supply to VRA, which has disabled other power generating facilities, such as Asogli Power Plant, CENNIT and others, which depend on gas to generate electricity, unable to function at full capacity.
The completion of the gas project, was scheduled for the end of last year, but delay in releasing funds from the China Development Bank (CDB) and sinking of some key parts of the project in the high seas, stalled its completion.
Communications Director at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Edward Bawa, speaking to Accra-based Citi FM revealed that SINOPEC had indicated mechanical completion would be on the 31st of March.
“They told us that from today, they a have 66 days to mechanical completion, by that calculation they are talking of the 31st of March, 2014 and that first gas is expected in the pipes from the jubilee fields by the 28th of April 2014. They said that, from 28th of April, they will need about a week to process the gas internally, before they supply to VRA.”
Energy and Petroleum Minister, Mr. Buah is said to have met the jubilee partners last Thursday to submit a number of possible options, which included the flaring of the gas and reduction of production levels of oil. The Minister is expected to take a decision on this.
As a result of the shortage in the supply of gas, VRA, this paper has learnt, is unable to get the required power from these generators for onward transmission to Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) for Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to distribute power to the public.
Meanwhile, it is unclear if VRA, is telling the public the whole truth as credible information picked up by The Herald indicates that VRA occasionally, “creates artificial shortage of power” in order to put pressure on government to provide them with funds to support power generation, however, according to information, when such funds are given, small amount of it is used, while a chunk of it is used for other needs of the Authority.
ECG, on the other hand, has indicated to the media that it is not able to supply constant power, because GRIDCo , had asked that it cuts power supply by 200 megawatts in an Emergency Load Shedding exercise, due to the shortage of Gas from Nigeria.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) for ECG, William Boateng, was quick to add that the company had not embarked on load shedding, as is being speculated by sections of the public, assuring that as soon as the technical challenges are fixed, power will be fully installed.
He explained that Emergency Load Shedding is done on the basis of shortage in the supply of power and it happens only during the peak period, between 6pm to 10pm in specific areas.
While, Load Shedding also takes place when there is shortage in power supply. It takes place nationwide and it is a whole day or whole night phenomenon, as a result of limited amount of megawatts to share among parts of the country that is supposed to be on.
Emergency Load Shedding, is an unforeseen development, as it is sometimes to enable repair works to be carried out on the power plants.
Presently, ECG, Mr. Boateng said, has 200megawatt less than the required amount, hence has received instruction from its power suppliers, GRIDCo to embark on the Emergency Load Shedding at peak periods, so not to plunged the whole country into total darkness.
He gave the breakdown of the 200 megawatts as the amount of power needed to provide electricity to the whole of Volta, Central and Eastern Regions respectively put together. This same 200 megawatts, is the total amount of power required to provide electricity to Ghana’s second most populous region, Ashanti Region.
Mr. Boateng, gave the assurance that ECG will end the Emergency Load Shedding, as soon as GRIDCo gets the required amount of power from VRA, Asogli, CENNIT and other suppliers to distribute, and pleaded with its cherished consumers should bear with them.