Business News of Thu, 14 Mar 201918

$280m Takoradi-3 thermal plant idle

The $280-million Takoradi-3 (T3) thermal plant in the Aboadze Power Enclave in the Shama District in the Western Region has been left idle for about six years due to operational failures.

After its inauguration in April 2013, the plant worked for about six months, generating between 60 and 70 megawatts (MW) of power, before it broke down and has since not been fixed.

Constructed to generate 132MW, the plant has since the breakdown not added a single megawatt to the national grid.

Nothing is going on

When the Daily Graphic visited the enclave yesterday, no activity was going on.

An engineer on site, who spoke on condition of anonymity, wondered why millions of dollars would be invested in a plant and left to rot.

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He said soon the plant would be a complete waste if nothing was done to fix it.

“We are using some components, accessories and chemicals that came with the plant to carry out some minimal work to preserve it, but when all is finished I can tell you we will not have money to bring the plant back and it will be history,” he said.

Take over

The government took over the T3 project following successful completion work financed by the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).

Its breakdown resulted in a tussle between engineers of the national generator, the Volta River Authority (VRA), and the traditional leaders of the area who allegedly claimed the gods were angry because the plant was sited at the resting place of the gods of the land.

Hot-gas corrosion

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It was later realised that the breakdown was due to the feeding of the plant with unfit fuel, which resulted in a problem known as hot-gas corrosion.

That development led to a tussle between the Ghana government’s technical team and the contractors, who kept shifting blame as to who provided the off-spec fuel for the plant.

The T3 project was a deal between the Government of Ghana and the CCC.

There had been several failed promises to avert further delay in its commercial operations.

The blame game

The source explained that when spare parts got finished, the plant would deteriorate faster and the country risked losing the millions of dollars invested in the project.

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It said the contestation between the contractor and Ghana was that the Ghanaian side provided the off-spec light crude oil to test-run the plant, but the Ghanaian engineers had denied the claim.

The engineers explained that before the fuel was provided, samples were taken and confirmed by the contractor that it was safe.

According to the source, since the problem, which occurred within the stipulated defect liability period, was reported to CCC and the contractor about six years ago, nothing had been done about it.

Ownership & VRA

“The accompanying parts for minimal work on the plant are almost exhausted and, therefore, the new plant will soon be reduced to scrap.

“We have seen this happen to the Osagyefo Barge in Jomoro and we are witnessing same here. More than $280 million was spent here.

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Why should we allow this to happen?” the source asked.

Asked why the VRA was not taking charge of the facility, it explained that the VRA opted to take over the plant and replace the engines through private partnerships but the contract was not between the VRA and CCC.

“We are just to operate; the plant is in the name of the Government of Ghana,” it said.

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