The leakage was discovered during a test of the integrity of the 111-kilometre pipeline from Atuabo in the Ellembelle District to Shama in the Shama District of the Western Region.
Declaring that there was no cause for alarm, officials of Ghana Gas, managers of the facility, said the leakage was not unexpected and that engineers were currently working on the affected segment.
They told the Daily Graphic that the gas used for the testing was supplied to the Volta River Authority (VRA) from the West Africa Gas Pipeline.
With the mechanical completion of the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project (WCGIDP) and the successful hydro-testing of its offshore pipeline, Ghana Gas began the testing of the onshore pipeline from Atuabo to Aboadze as part of a routine process to check the integrity of the pipeline and identify and correct potential leakages along the pipeline before the tie-in of the Gas Processing Plant to the Jubilee Field gas reservoir.
During the test, a pin-hole leak was identified at one of the over 10,000 pipe joints laid under the surface of the earth and appropriate isolation valves were subsequently engaged, while plans for remedial works promptly began.
“We are satisfied with the test on the onshore pipeline and we are excited by the fact that just a small portion of the pipeline has thrown up a minor challenge that is being rectified,” the Director of Operations, Dr Ben Asante, said.
He said the identified pinhole leak was far below the anticipated average in the industry.
He assured the public that there were no safety concerns whatsoever, adding, “We are satisfied with the safety protocol being employed for the testing of the pipeline.”
He said the leakage was not unexpected, pointing out that the discovery of the leakage on only one of the segments was a confirmation that Ghana Gas was very meticulous during the construction of the 111-kilometre pipeline, which travels through land, various river beds and water bodies from Nzema to Aboadze.
Dr Asante explained that the pipeline was divided into several segments to ensure that in the event of any leakage, it would be easy to isolate the section and rectify the problem.
“I must say that the essence of the testing is to detect if there are leakages, and I can tell you that we had expected more leakages, but due to the time devoted to quality and safety, we had only one minor pin-hole leakage which is currently being rectified,” Dr Asante said.
The gas facility is completed and is expected to be subjected to independent auditing and be certified before it will receive part of the more than 1.2 trillion standard cubic feet (SCF) of associated gas from the Jubilee offshore oil operations.
The gas processing plant, which has the capacity to generate about 150 million SCF of natural gas a day, is estimated to save the country more than $500 million annually when it is substituted for light crude oil in the generation of power. In addition, it will produce 70 per cent of the estimated 240,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used in Ghana.
After a successful hydro-testing of the facility and the pipelines and an independent audit to confirm the integrity of the pipelines, it will be hooked onto the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah.