K.T Hammond Finds His Voice

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After US$24Million GNPC Drillship Hibernation

Months after shouting, shedding crocodile tears on national TV, yelling insults, and later going into hibernation over his role in the controversial sale of a drillship, belonging to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), the Minority spokesperson on Energy, has found his voice again, using the ongoing load shedding as a conduit.

According to K.T. Hammond, the current energy crisis the country is experiencing, has nothing to do with the supply of gas from the West African Gas Pipeline, but it is because Government has no money to buy crude.

“The issue about the shortage of power supply is not so much with West African Gas Pipeline; essentially it is not the issue,’’ said Mr. Hammond, who still has many nagging questions round his neck over the sale of the drillship for a paltry US$24 million, how much he paid to Societe Generale Bank in France or Britain and the whereabouts of the rest of the money.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi Asokwa in the Ashanti Region, said on Citi FM’s Eyewitness News on Monday, that anybody blaming WAPCo is trying to “hoodwink the good people of Ghana’’.
According to him the current power situation is simply because there is no money to buy crude to power the thermal plant.

“Most of the plant that we have in the country, except for the sole exception of the Sunon Asogli plant that depends on gas, the rest are all convertible from gas to crude; so it’s not so much the fact that we do not have gas from the West African Gas Pipeline that is creating the problem, it is simply because we do not have the money to buy crude to power the thermal plants that we have,’’ he stated.

He also noted that most of the generating plants have broken down. “The generating capacity of the country is completely collapsed, so don’t let anybody blame the WAPCo…’’

‘’We do not have the 132megawatts plant (T3 at Tarkoradi) it has also broken down,’’ he added.

Consumers across the country have been enduring a load-management programme which the Volta River Authority (VRA) blames on power generation challenges.

The Energy Ministry last Friday announced that a new load shedding programme will be released today.

President John Mahama has, however, pleaded with Ghanaians to be patient as the government works to resolve the crisis.

Also the Energy Minister, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, has been sent to Nigeria to find out why gas from the West Africa Gas Pipeline has been erratic, a statement from the ministry signed by Edward Abambire Bawa, Head Of Communications, said.

“The Hon Minister, who is being accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer of the Volta River Authority, Mr. Isaac Kirk Koffie while in Nigeria will meet with the Hon Minister for Petroleum of the Republic of Nigeria, Officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell and Chevron who together form N-Gas and who are the suppliers of the Natural gas to Ghana”, it said.

The Minister was also to consult with officials of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company and the West Africa Gas Pipeline Authority.
It said the Minister was expected back yesterday.

Deputy Minister of Energy and Petroleum, John Abdulai Jinapor, has also assured Ghanaians and industries affected by the ongoing load management exercise that government and its agencies in the power sector are working assiduously to ensure the situation is brought to normalcy.

He explained that the intermittent power supply to homes and industries in the country is as a result of the shutting down of some thermal plants in Aboadze to give way for expansion works aimed at converting parts of the plant into combined cycle to be fueled by either gas or crude oil, thereby curbing reliance on one source of fuel and improve efficiency.

Mr. Jinapor noted that Ghana does not have control of gas supply from the West Africa Gas Pipeline in Nigeria, which has been unreliable and impacting adversely on the Ghanaian power sector, hence government’s decision to fast track the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant project to guarantee
constant supply of gas.

The Deputy Minister said, players in the oil and gas sector have increased their efforts to ensure that adequate power is restored. He added that government empathizes with Ghanaians and “we share in your pain; we believe that these are difficult moments and we are leaving no stone unturned.”

Mr. Jinapor said, though the Ministry is dealing with the current problem, it will take into account long-term measures to forestall future occurrences.

He further appealed to Ghanaians to use electricity judiciously to save power, adding that the little power we conserve in our homes are very significant in addressing power issue.

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