A marine engineer has questioned the recent shutdown of gas compressors on the Floating Production Supply and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah.
Mr Signus Buckman said the development was unacceptable because all FPSOs had two compressors, which made it possible for one to function when the other was down.
He was of the view that the shutdown could be attributed to incompetence, negligence or sabotage.
Explaining the workings of marine engineering to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Tema last Tuesday, Mr Buckman, who is also the General Secretary of the
Ghana Merchant Navy Officers Association (GMNOA), said “to the best of our knowledge, all compressors are provided in pairs. So it is not normal and acceptable for both to break down at the same time”.
“If that happens, it can be attributed to negligence, incompetence and or sabotage,” he stressed.
Tullow Ghana, on July 7, 2015, announced that a July 3, 2015 unplanned shutdown on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah had halted gas export to the Ghana Gas onshore processing plant at Atuabo.
Another statement issued by the oil company on July 21, 2015 said the shutdown was due to technical issues with gas compression systems on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah.
It also noted that Tullow had mobilised a team of experts to rectify the fault within the gas compression system.
The situation was rectified this month, but Mr Buckman said the occurrence was unacceptable.
We are concerned
Mr Buckman explained that each ship was supposed to have a crew, including engineers, who should be able to manage, repair and maintain compressors to be in good shape at all times.
He said Ghana had high calibre local engineers who were capable of manning such machinery and for that reason it was embarrassing to witness foreigners being brought to the country to perform roles that locals could play.
Asked why he questioned the competence of the engineers, Mr Buckman said, “If they have the right crew, both compressors would not have broken down at the same time.”
“What is the essence of the local content policy when Ghanaians are sidelined in the oil and gas industry? There are competent Ghanaians who are capable of performing roles foreigners are currently playing on the FPSO.
“We urge the government to ensure the local content policy is implemented to the letter,” he added.
We have competent staff
But a source with Tullow Oil plc, operators of the Jubilee oilfields where the FPSO is located, said the company’s current workforce was made up of more than 80 per cent Ghanaians.
On the issue of not adhering to local content, it said, “We have at all times trained Ghanaians to render quality service on the FPSO and other gas-related fields.
Our localisation plan ensures capacity building and skill transfer. We will not renege in our efforts to operate efficiently to meet our mandate.”
On the issue of the breakdown of the two compressors, the source said one had broken down prior to July 3, 2015 when the other also developed a technical fault.
“One of them has since been fixed and that is why we have resumed the exportation of gas to the Atuabo gas plant,” it added.