The Atuabo Gas Processing Plant operated by the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) will officially start operations by the end of October using smaller volumes of natural gas from the Jubilee field, the Ghana National Gas Company has disclosed.
The plant will ramp up its intake volume from about 30 million standard cubic feet (SCF) of gas this month to about 120 million (SCF) by the first quarter of 2015.
The Head of Public Affairs of Ghana Gas, Mr Alfred Ogbame, confirmed in an interview on October 13 that the plant would be in full production by the first quarter of 2015.
Two vessels, ER Trondheim and Skandi Aker, arrived in the country’s waters on Sunday to tie in intake pipeline of the gas processing plant to the Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO Kwame Nkrumah) production platform currently anchored on the Jubilee Field.
The gas processing plant is to process an estimated 1.2 trillion SCF associated natural gas from the Jubilee Field to power thermal plants such as those located in the Aboadze Power Enclave in the Shama District of the Western Region.
Currently, the Aboadze power enclave has three generating units, T1, T2 and T3 with a combined generating capacity of 793 megawatt, commissioned to run on light crude oil (LCO) and natural gas.
The introduction of gas to power the generating units would save the country more than US$500 million a year used in purchasing crude oil and sourcing natural gas from Nigeria and also ensure efficient running of the generating units.
The Jubilee partners, led by Tullow Oil Ghana, have since August been flared about 1.7 billion SCF of gas under the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Atuabo gas processing plant is also expected to produce about 240,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), enough to meet about 70 per cent of domestic demand.
“I can tell you that we are working towards the first quarter of 2015 for full production. At the end of the year getting to the month of January, we expect full capacity of the facility; it could be January, February or March.”
According to Tullow Ghana, lead operator of the Jubilee field, the partners were satisfied with the progress of work since Sunday and look forward to working with Ghana Gas to tie in its facilities for the transmission of gas from the Jubilee field to begin.
The vessels will tie the onshore facility to the about 45 km offshore pipeline to the production platform offshore.
The Chief Executive Officer of Tullow Ghana, Mr Charles Ayesu Darku, said on October 16 that the vessel which arrived from the Cayman Islands, is currently shuttling between Ghana Gas and the Jubilee Field to performs tasks to tie in pipelines that will facilitate the transmission of natural gas to the plant.
Prior to the vessels’ arrival, Ghana Gas had on its own tested the integrity of its onshore and offshore pipelines as well as performed hydro testing.
The other steps include de-watering of the pipeline and installation of the onshore Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG) handling facilities, which have already been completed.
He said the independent audit of the facility, which was agreed on by Ghana Gas and Jubilee Partners had also been completed last Thursday.
“Even though the tie in takes only five days, it will again take a week or two of monitoring the system, depending on how it goes for our engineers to be sure that the facility was working according to design, specification and constriction,” he said.
It is important to note that, while the plant might be ready for production, there is the need for other supporting services to be in place for the evacuation of other by products such as condensate, LPG that will be produced from the natural gas.
The processed lean-gas cannot be stored and must, therefore, be transmitted to the thermal enclave immediately.
It was initially projected that the plant will be ready before the end of 2013. However, the deadline was missed with the explanation that a vital component for the completion of the spherical LPG tanks went missing on the high seas. This, coupled with financial issues, led to some contractors abandoning the project for seven months.
After these issues were resolved in 2014, the main contractor gave March 31 as the new deadline for the completion of mechanical works. The planned testing of the plant on April 28 was postponed to June/July where officials said the shipment of about 60 million to 70 million SCF. The latest date is October 31.
The US$900 million plant comprises reception area, inlet separation, gas chilling and de-ethanisation, NGL fractionation, ethylene glycol injection and regeneration, methanol injection, LPG and condensate storage tanks and export unit.
The other areas include the instrument air and nitrogen system, water treatment system, firefighting system, power generating and cooling system for LPG among others.
As part of the agreement, the jubilee partners are to supply the Ghana Gas with 200 billion SCF for free after which the commercial value of the product would be determined.
From the Jubilee fields, the oil has a proven reserve of associated gas volume of more than 1.2 trillion SCF.
Currently, the jubilee operation is flaring 500 million SCF of gas per month. The average daily production on the Jubilee field is 103,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) as of end of June 2014 with an associated gas of 150 million SCF which is re-injected.
As a result of the re-injection, the entire reservoir was being compromised; therefore, temporary incremental flaring has been enabled, leading to a downward revision of year end average target to 100,000 bodp, up from 120,000 bopd.
Source: Daily Graphic