Gas has started flowing through the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) from Nigeria to Takoradi to power the Aboadze Thermal plants.
The flow started about three weeks ago at between 30 and 50 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfld) by gravitational force, but needs an accumulated 800 mmscfld for all the four thermal plants to generate electrical power.
A reliable source disclosing this to the Times in Accra said at the present flow rate of between 30 and 50 mmscfld, only one of the four thermal plants at Aboadze was being used to generate electricity.
The source said a compressor station in Nigeria which would aid inflow of more gas to Takoradi would be ready by the end of this month to enable the accumulated 800 mmscfld to be attained for full power generation.
An expert is expected in the country soon to supervise the conversion of the three plants from crude oil to the use of gas, the source said.
It said since the three plants were not ready to use gas, arrangements had been made to supply some of the gas to the privately owned Sunon-Asogli power plant at Kpone.
Although Asogli was ready to generate electricity, the source said its share of the gas was not yet ready, hence, the interim arrangement to make it functional.
The arrangement was also designed to ease pressure on Aboadze’s Three Thermal plants which operate on crude oil until the conversion to gas had been completed.
The source said the country’s energy needs were on the threshold of being met with these developments, adding that Akosombo and Kpong hydro stations would be producing 1, 180 megawatts, the thermal plants, 990 megawatts and Asogli at full production capacity would bring in 200 megawatts.
The source said with the expected additional 400 megawatts upon the completion of the Bui Dam, the country could then revive the prospect of revitalising the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) to make use of the country’s vast bauxite deposits.
It said the use of the gas would reduce the cost of producing electricity in Ghana which would ultimately have a rippling effect on economic transformation.
The source said with the expected switch to gas at Aboadze, its 30,000 cubic metre tanks, capable of storing 100,000 tonnes (755,000 barrels of crude oil) could be used for the storage of the country’s strategic crude oil stock, the first of its kind.
Under the WAGP project, jointly owned by Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Togo, gas would be made available to the participating countries from estimated reserves of over 120 million cubic feet (3-4 million cubic metres) in the Delta region of Nigeria.
The project was mooted in 1982 by ECOWAS as part of measures to ease the chronic power shortages in the sub-region.
In 2003, the four countries, with other shareholders formed West African Gas Pipeline Company which started work on the pipeline in 2005 and completed in 2006.
The projected time for the project to begin operation was January 2007 but it had to be postponed after leaks were detected in its supply lines in Nigeria.