The approval marks an important milestone in efforts by the ministry to ensure that the Kpone Thermal Plant and the other thermal plants at the power enclave near Tema are not deprived of gas for electricity generation whenever the West Africa Gas Company Limited (WAPCo) reduces gas supplies from Nigeria to them.
Consequently, the Chief Director of the Petroleum Ministry, Prof. Thomas Akabzaa, said the ministry was now facilitating negotiations between the Ghana Gas and WAPCo on how the interconnection should be carried out.
“Technically, both have agreed that Ghana Gas will construct the pipeline from their end to the West Africa Gas Pipeline portion so that they (WAPCo) will also construct from there to their end for the connectivity to materialise,” Prof. Akabzaa said.
Beyond servicing the Kpone Plant, the gas from the Atuabo Processing Plant would also help serve the fuel needs of some of the plants at the Kpone Power enclave, majority of which have retrofitted their plants to run on gas as well as crude.
Once discussions on the modalities of the project are firmed up, the chief director said the two sides would proceed to talk about tariffs which would be based on the general framework of tariffs currently used in the sub-region.
The distance between the Ghana Gas and WAPCo portion is about 1.5 kilometres and its successful connection will mean that gas can flow from the east of the pipeline to the west and vice versa, thereby bringing consistency to gas supplies to the Kpone Plant.
The plant accounts for about 220 megawatts of the country’s electricity needs and has been at the mercy of the erratic gas flows from the WAGP. Gas from the WAGP has been inconsistent ever since the pipeline was inaugurated.
Those inconsistencies force the Kpone Plant to shut down intermittently for lack of gas or revert to crude which is comparatively costly to run .
The result has been a decline in national electricity generation, translating into the rationing of power to industrial and domestic consumers.
Although signals from Ghana Gas showed that it would want to engage Sinopec, the contractor working on the Atuabo Gas Plant to construct the 1.5 kilometre pipeline to the WAPCo section, the chief director said the ministry had requested that a procurement process be undertaken to allow that to happen.
“So we have asked them to ensure that the procurement processes are cleared. WAPCo will be doing it themselves; they have internal engineers and contractors,” the Prof. Akabzaa added.
Prof. Akabzaa explained that investment costs on the project were to be recouped from the revenues to be made from the gas retails, and added that those revenues would be shared based on the cost incurred in connecting the two sides to the intersection.
“Besides the reverse flow project, we are looking at ultimately getting a dedicated pipeline that will run from the west to Tema such that even if the WAGP has challenges, you will have another pipeline.
“The immediate thing is, we do not have enough gas to take up that project,” Prof. Akabzaa said.