Mr. John Peter Amewu, the Energy Minister, on Tuesday, assured domestic and commercial power consumers that government will provide the requisite infrastructure and conducive business environment for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to meet their power generation capacity.
He said energy is an important component in every country’s industrialization drive, and gave the assurance that government will provide reliable and affordable natural gas supply for generation of electricity.
He said government is aware of the frequent gas interruption from Nigeria, which affects the IPPs’ daily power generation, saying: “Government has therefore decided to make gas available as one of the cheapest sources of fuel for power generation’’.
Currently, Sunon Asogli Power Plant receives on average between 58 and 60 million standard cubic feet of gas/per day (scfd) from Nigeria – which is far below its daily requirement of 120 million scfd, and causes the plant to perform below its maximum generation capacity.
Mr. Amewu gave the assurance when he led a delegation from the Energy Ministry to visit some Independent Power Producers in the Tema power enclave on Tuesday, to familiarize himself with their work and challenges.
The minister visited the Sunon Asogli Power Plant Station, Cenpower Generation Power Plant, and West African Gas Pipeline Gas Interconnection Facility and Offices of the West African Gas Pipeline Company.
He was accompanied by Mr. William Owuraku Aidoo, a Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Power; Dr Benjamin Asante, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Gas Company; and some engineers and technocrats from the ministry.
Mr. Amewu said it is government’s priority to ensure regular and reliable supply of electricity at all times, and promised to work collaboratively with power producers to meet their targets.
He said a team has been formed to ensure re-direction or reverse flow of natural gas from the ENI Oilfield in the Western Region to the Tema power enclave, so that there will be sufficient gas for power generation.
‘‘This will bring in about 70 to 80 million standard cubic feet of gas/per day from Takoradi to Tema which I think is going to help most of the power plants, and I ask for your collaboration so that this thing is done promptly.
‘‘Government’s role is to make sure that we create the infrastructure and a business environment friendly enough for people of your nature to invest in Ghana.
‘‘For any developing country like Ghana to achieve its targets and make the people comfortable, energy is key – because when you talk about industrialization, education and social lives of the people, energy is very key,’’ Mr. Amewu emphasized.
The Energy Minister said there is between 170 and 175 million scfd surplus of natural gas from the ENI Oilfield, and assured that in the next three to four months the gas will be made available.
Mr. Amewu said the Karpower Plants, which are currently located in Tema, will be relocated to Takoradi so that they will be fed on natural gas and reduce the cost involved in buying light crude oil for power generation.
Mr. Li Xiaohai, the Chairman of Sunon Asogli Power Ghana Limited, earlier briefed the Energy Minister about the power plant and took him and his entourage round the facility.
The 560-megawatt power plant is privately owned by Sunon Asogli Power Ghana Limited, a company in which Shenzhan Energy Group Limited owns 60 percent shares, while the China Africa Development Fund has a 40 percent stake.