President John Mahama says the expected benefits to the country from the delayed Gas Processing Plant at Atuabo will be the game-changer, as he looks forward to the start of operations by Ghana’s first-ever gas plant.
The US$850million project was supposed to have opened in December, but stalled largely because of difficulties securing the disbursement of US$600million from the Chinese Development Bank — part of a US$3billion loan agreement signed in 2011.
“This project is much anticipated by Ghanaians. It is going to be a game-changer. It would even help our macroeconomic stability in terms of reducing the pressure on our foreign exchange reserves.
It will save us almost half a billion dollars a year in light crude purchases, and another billion dollars in foreign exchange savings for the purchase of light crude oil; and that is because the VRA will be able to purchase the gas in cedis,” the President said after a final tour of the Atuabo gas plant.
The plant will produce four different products from the raw or wet gas it receives. This includes 107 million standard cubic feet of lean gas per day, 500 tonnes of LPG a day, 80 tonnes of pentane and 45 tonnes of condensates per day.
The project, which started in July 2012, is moving from the engineering to the testing and commissioning phase — and for the President, “the multiplier effect of this project will be enormous for our economy”.
Overall, the project is 99.87% complete, according to officials of the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas). A safety audit is about to start, to be followed by other tests and a tie-in of the plant to the FPSO.
Mr. Mahama commended the management of Ghana Gas and the main contractors, Sinopec, for a good job, disclosing that the plant cost the economy about US$800million.
“But if you take the net worth of this plant as it is and come to value it today, it is worth over a billion dollars. And so I believe that we have really had value for money,” the President responded in answer to a question from journalists at the plant.
Looking into the future, President Mahama said the economy has very bright prospects in the medium-term — optimistic that the coming on-stream of the TEN field and the ENI projects will not only help the country’s oil production move up to about 200,000 barrels a day, but also supply more gas to help boost energy generation.
The President says his vision of an increased generation capacity of 5,000MW of power is on course to position Ghana as a self-sufficient energy producer and net exporter to the other countries.
“The important thing about this gas is that it allows us to have energy security in terms of putting in more thermal production, and it fits into our programme of turning Ghana into the energy hub of West Africa.
All the companies that we have signed Memoranda of Understanding with for installation of IPP thermal plants will feel secure to go ahead, because they know that by the time they finish their thermal projects gas will be available to power them,” he explained.