Ghana is losing a monstrous $9.9 million on a monthly basis to the owners of the Africa & Middle East Resource Investment (AMERI) power plant for no work done.
Per the country’s agreement with owners of the power plant, an amount of $9.9 million is supposed to be paid to them every month for their conversion of natural gas supplied from the Atuabo gas processing plant to generate 250 megawatts power to the national grid.
But currently the turret bearing challenge confronting the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel (FPSO Kwame Nkrumah) has compelled the Jubilee partners to reduce gas supply to Ghana Gas from 87 million standard cubic feet (scf-d) a day to 47 million scf-d.
Sources at Tullow Oil have attributed the challenge largely to bad weather conditions since the defective turret was no longer in control of the anchoring system of the vessel.
This has left the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) Limited stranded, thereby unable to supply the AMERI plant with gas.
The AMERI plant
AMERI signed an agreement with, the Government of Ghana to construct, operate and transfer (BOT) the plant for a period of 5 years. And whether there is gas from Ghana Gas or not, they would be entitled to their $9.9 million monthly.
The power plant, which arrived in the country last year, started operating on February 1, this year.
It has 10 units and five transformers and supplies 250-megawatt of power to augment the country’s power mix.
The Ameri power contract, it would be recalled, was rocked by controversies late last year after it emerged that Ghana paid double the cost for 10 power plants being provided by AMERI Group, a Norwegian newspaper, Verdens Gang (VG) reported.
The power plant was initially expected to be commissioned on September 2015 but suffered a temporary setback as civil works on the compacted platform for the plant were delayed.
Cheap power from Ivory Coast
Ghana is currently importing 180 megawatts power from Ivory Coast produced at 9 cents per kilowatts and sold at 11 cents/kilowatts compared to power generated locally and sold between 14 cents/kilowatts and 19 cents /kilowatts.
Recently, the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) suspended gas supply from Nigeria to Ghana.
This was as a result of unpaid bills by the Ghana government.
The Volta River Authority owed Nigeria’s N-Gas about $180 million, while N-Gas also owed the pipeline company $104 million.
A threat by the gas supplier to cut supply in October last year was suspended after negotiations between a Government delegation and N-Gas.
Managing Director of WAPCo, Walter Perez, stated publicly that the debt owed N-Gas by Ghana was affecting his outfit’s production.
The development is negatively affecting power distribution in the country which got a little better in February, this year and Government has as usual indicated it was exploring all means to find alternative power sources to address the problem.