Tullow Ghana Limited, operators of Ghana’s main oil and gas exploration field, plans to begin a 15-day shutdown of operations at its offshore Jubilee Oil Field from February 3, 2017.
The shutdown is to enable works on inter-connection between the Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme (TEN) fields and the Jubilee Field for gas exportation from the FPSO Atta Mills.
The interconnection between Ghana’s first and second operating oil and gas fields will enable evacuation and export of additional natural gas from the TEN fields through the 58-km offshore pipeline of the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) to its onshore Atuabo Gas Processing Plant.
The shutdown will lead to immediate curtailment of production and export of natural gas from the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah to Atuabo and subsequent curtailment of lean gas from Atuabo to the Aboadze Thermal Enclave, which presently relies on gas from Ghana Gas to generate electricity.
Aboadze has been relying on Atuabo since November 2014 to supply lean gas to generate electricity from its thermal plants and there are fears that the inter-connection exercise could result in “dumsor” within the period.
Corporate Communications Manager of Ghana Gas, Mr Alfred Ogbamey, is, however, hopeful that ‘dumsor’ will be averted.
According to him, Tullow informed Ghana Gas of the shutdown months ago, as a result of which Ghana Gas has informed its stakeholders and industry partners to plan for the tie-in period.
“All stakeholders and partners along the gas production value chain have been informed and prepped for this. We anticipate that other stakeholders and the VRA, which has long been aware of this and captured it in their 2017 gas forecast, have put in place adequate measures to avert the consequential effect of the TEN inter-connection.”
He said Tullow’s interconnection is essential to create a corridor from TEN to evacuate and bring additional natural gas on-stream to generate power. It would also enable the TEN fields to be linked to the Jubilee Field and Ghana Gas Offshore Pipeline, he said.
He admits, however, that the nation could face serious challenges within the period. “There’s a snag. VRA is presently unable to offtake their nominated volumes. Tullow and Ghana Gas have been ready to supply Aboadze with 90 million standard cubic feet of gas a day for a while, but Aboadze’s TAPCO plants are out for maintenance. This has reduced VRA’s lean gas offtake since January.”
Mr Ogbamey said though Tullow has indicated that the exercise will take 15 days, Ghana Gas has projected 18 days for the exercise to allow for exigencies should they arise.
He said Ghana Gas will take advantage of the curtailment in gas supply to also interconnect its installed second De-ethenized Overhead Compressor at Atuabo.
“That will ensure that Atuabo will operate continuously without the need for 4000-hours scheduled maintenance disruptions. When one compressor has to be serviced after 4000 hours of operation, we’d now be able to switch onto the other and carry out works without halting production.”
Oil production began on the TEN fields through the FPSO Atta Mills in August 2016, with gas production projected for February 2017.
Similar to Jubilee, development of TEN includes the use of an FPSO, which will be tied in to infrastructure across the field.