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Energy Minister John Peter Amewu has questioned the wisdom in building power generation plants at Tema in the Greater Accra Region when all the country’s oil and gas sources and infrastructure exists in Takoradi, Western Region.
According to him, transporting the gas all the way from Takoradi to Tema to power the generation plants is very costly to the nation, thus, wondered why such a decision was taken.
Speaking at a town hall meeting of the Economic Management Team led by Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Energy Minister, in response to a question asked by a journalist and deferred to him by the vice-president about why the country is currently experiencing intermittent blackouts, said: “As a government, we continue to pay for gas that is available but cannot be used and the government continues to pay for heavy fuel to fire a plant that can equally rely on gas as a cheaper source of fuel.
“And, so, what His Excellency has directed me to do is to move the plants that are feeding on heavy fuel from Tema to Takoradi”, he said.
“The question we want to ask is: if you have sufficient gas in Takoradi, why will you go and put a plant in Tema? I don’t want to answer those questions … If I had the opportunity then, I’ll not put the plant in Tema, I’ll put the plant near the source of gas.
“Because when the gas travels from Takoradi to Tema, it is also not free, it costs about $2.7 million. … For one month, the travelling cost of gas costs this country in a rage of about $15 million; that is just the tariff for the volume of gas that you’ll ship from Takoradi to Tema. The first thing, therefore, is that let us move the plant from Tema to Takoradi, which is a very good management idea…” Mr Amewu said.
He said: “Mr Vice-President, the gas, as I’ve talked about, also means that you’ve gas but you are feeding on other expensive fuel because some of the plants are still in Tema that you cannot move. The only ones we are moving are mobile ones. There are some that are fixed, you cannot move them. What do you have to do?
“Those that are fixed, let’s move some gas from Takoradi to the fixed plant. That again is cheaper because it reduced the price by more than 7 per cent and, so, it calls for what we call the tie-in.
“The tie-in just allows us to be able to flow gas; currently we flow gas from Nigeria through Tema to Takoradi but we cannot flow gas to the reverse direction. So, the current tie-in that allows us to move the gas to Tema. By doing so, we have to stop the flow of gas. The stoppage of the flow of gas takes away almost 650 megawatts of power, so, this explains the intermittent shortfall that we have witnessed.
“Fortunately, Mr Vice-President, I have an opportunity to visit the site and I can assure the good people of this country that work is progressing. The best thing we can do is to make sure that we speed up this process and I can assure them that by the 12thof April, we will complete the tie-in”, he explained.
Additionally, Mr Amewu said: “What good thing is this tie-in also doing? We are not only tying-in … we have also begun to expand the current capacity of 130 to over 405 standard cubicle metres of gas per day. That is one expansion that we’ve done.
“Another thing we have also done is to provide an opportunity for the future because we are a forward-looking government. We are not looking at elections, we are looking at the future. We’ve provided opportunities for future expansions. The government’s idea of One District-One Factory has made us add more valves so that in the future, power agencies or other agencies that want to rely on gas can easily tap in without shutting down.
“So, Ghanaians, we are sorry, this short period is just intermittent and I can promise you that from 12 April when the tie-in is completed, you’ll continue to enjoy sustainable power”.
Mr Amewu also explained that: “The shortfall we are experiencing currently is as a result of the migration, largely from the gas pipeline to the light crude ready fuel, and also, the diesel plant. We have sufficient diesel currently in the stock of Tema Oil Refinery.
“I want to assure Ghanaians that – first of all, we want to apologise for this intermittent supply – but we are never back to an era where we have a consistent, persistent shortfall in supply. We are in an era where there is installed capacity available but what we need to do is to change that installed capacity to availability”.
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