Business News of 2013-12-23

Feasibility studies into gas project commissioned

Feasibility studies into a project that will provide additional, adequate and secure natural gas to address the country's medium-term gas deficit have been commissioned in Accra. The project, dubbed ‘The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project’, when completed, will provide gas for the operation of the country's thermal plants.

The outcome of the studies, which are being conducted in partnership with the Millennium Development Authority (MDA), the National LNG Task Force, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, sector agencies and key stakeholders in the country's power sector, will inform the appropriate siting of relevant infrastructure.

It will also inform the Millenium Challenge Corporation's (MCC’s)?investment decision on Ghana's LNG infrastructure import project as proposed for inclusion in the second compact of the MCC's second compact.

Launch of studies

At the commissioning, which was attended by stakeholders in the country's power sector, as well as the US Ambassador to Ghana, Gene A. Cretz, the consultants for the studies, CH2M-Hill of the United Kingdom, and Prof Samuel Kofi Sefa-Dedeh, Board Chairman of the MDA, who explained that thermal plants used gas as fuel for their operations but the country did not have enough gas.

The LNG, which is liquid, needs the plants to regasify it to serve as fuel for the thermal plants.

The Deputy Minister for Energy, Mr John Jinapor, said it had been realised that energy from the Akosombo hydro-electric dam and the Aboadze Thermal Plant was not sufficient for the country, while experience had shown that the country could not depend solely on the West African gas pipeline.

"We have also realised that it is cheaper and more affordable to use gas to power these plants. We hope that the feasibility studies will provide us with comprehensive information on what we need to know about the LNG," he said.

He was grateful to the United States government for supporting the project.

Mr Cretz said the US government recognised the importance of electricity to Ghana's economic growth, adding that the US hoped to help Ghana address its energy problems.

The team leader of CH2M, Ms Kirsty McConnell, said the feasibility studies would be in phases.

She said phase one would involve initial studies to develop a preferred site and mode of delivery of the LNG to the Ghana gas distribution system, while phase two would involve feasibility studies, including field data collection and environmental impact assessment for the preferred site.

Phase three would include feed engineering of the preferred concept and the development of an EPCC execution.