Business News of 2014-03-25

Gas project won’t end energy crisis

Contrary to high expectations that the yet- to-be commissioned gas infrastructure project at Atuabo in the Western Region would bring an end to the country’s surging energy crises, experts have expressed other views.

The revelation is expected to generate a lot of debate and throw the hopes of the masses out of gear because of the heavy anticipation of the people.

For instance, the Executive Director of KITE, a non-profit development organisation and leading actor in the energy, technology and environmental sector in Ghana, Mr Ishmael Edjekumhene, said the project would only provide a cheaper source of fuel to produce energy.

“The reason why am so convinced that it is not going to change anything apart from the bottom line, helping us get a cheaper source of fuel is the fact that, looking at the design of the plant, the gas is going straight to Aboadze, it is not even going to be fed into the West Africa Gas Pipeline,” he told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in an interview on March 20, 2014.

He said a connection could be done at Aboadze because, that was where the West African Gas Pipeline terminated, but per the design, the gas was going straight into the power plant to replace the light crude oil that is currently being used.

The Ghana Infrastructure Gas project, is scheduled to be completed by April 2014, four months away from the original completion period of December 2013, and will process 150 million Standard Cubic Feet of raw gas per day from the Jubilee Oilfield.

Sources within government and the Ministry of Energy, for instance are of the view that should the gas come on stream, the energy crisis will be a thing of the past.

He earlier told a section of stakeholders at an information-sharing session on the preliminary findings on a study of the gas commercialisation project that there was the need for collective efforts to manage expectations with respect to what the project could do for Ghana with respect to the energy sector.

The study, which was carried out by KITE, with sponsorship from STAR GHANA was to sensitise people in the three communities hosting the gas commercialisation project to know what the negatives and positives of the project are so that they are better positioned to tackle the negative and take advantages of the positives.

“If the news is carried that we are being told to manage our expectations, and tomorrow, the President (John Dramani Mahama) says, we will commission the gas project by April and the ‘dumsor dumsor’ will stop, who they will believe,” he quizzed.

He was however quick to add that, “it is a challenge we have but civil society will have to drive home the point and make it clear that gas is not going to be cheap, if anything we will only have a cheaper source of fuel to produce electricity.”

Looming energy crisis

Mr Edjekumhene during the interview also warned of eminent energy crisis going forward if plans are not put in place to avert it.

“If you monitor the inflows into the Volta Lake, the inflows last year were not good enough, if we don’t have good rains it means that by the time the dry season is here with us, we will have very low water level in the Volta and that will be a massive problem for us,” he explained.

He said there is the need for a long-term plan for the energy sector as there were no quick fixes to address challenges, “if u want to bring new generation capacity, it takes a minimum of 18 months to be able to do that, there has to be a plan to have these things resolved over a period of time.”

“Not until we are expanding the thermal plant at Aboadze, we can’t produce more than the 330 or 550 that we are producing now. But if u look at our gas projections done by Energy Commission, what we are going to produce is just about a third of what we need to meet the current demand,” he said.

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