Nigeria says it will give Ghana continuous supply of gas to power its thermal power plants that have been lying idle because of insufficient and reliable supply from the Nigeria-based West Africa Gas Pipeline, Ghana’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum announced on Thursday.
The low flow of gas from Nigeria has crippled a privately-owned power plant that produces 220 megawatts of power, Sunon Asogli, which has contributed to a huge shortfall in electricity generation and therefore led to the rationing of power.
President John Dramani Mahama bemoaned the situation, that is causing disaffection for his government and annoying industrialists and domestic consumers, and sent a delegation to Nigeria to speak with the authorities.
The delegation, headed by the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Kofo Buah, said in a statement released in Accra on Thursday that the Nigerian government had “expressed commitment towards a continuous supply of gas to Ghana to operate her thermal power plants”.
The statement said: “After intense negotiations with the Minister for Petroleum of the Republic of Nigeria, officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell and Chevron, who together form N-Gas and who are the suppliers of natural gas to Ghana, the Ghanaian team was briefed about the causes of the low levels of gas supply.
“The reasons given for the low volumes were the continuous breach of the pipelines and competition for the product in the Nigeria market. The team was, however, assured of a constant supply of 50MMBtu/d, up from the 30MMBtu/d or less being supplied in recent days.”
N-Gas is under contract to provide Ghana with 123 MMBtu/d, according to industry sources.
The unreliable gas supply from the West Africa Gas Pipeline (WAGP) and repair and maintenance of power plants in western Ghana have drastically reduced power generation and once again forced a load shedding programme.
The WAGP, which supplies gas to a privately-owned power plant, Sunon Asogli, that generates about 220 megawatts of power, has virtually dried up, forcing the company to stop production once again because of extremely low and erratic supplies.
Three units of the Aboadze power plant in the Western region, which together supply some 330 megawatts, are not working.
The state-owned power producer, Volta River Authority (VRA), shut down one unit of its generator at Aboadze on 15 February for repairs with the loss of 110 megawatts after a major fault on it just as it was being returned into service.
The fault occurred while there were expansion and maintenance works going on at two other generators due to be completed by the end of the second quarter.
While Ghana’s demand for electricity is about 2,200 megawatts a day with reserve of 220 megawatts production is less 1,800 megawatts, VRA officials say.
The Electricity Company of Ghana has published a loan shedding programme under which consumers would lose 12 hours of supply in 48 hours, causing great discomfort to industries and domestic consumers.
Ghana’s energy production is a mix of hydro, gas, thermal and a small amount of solar. Total installed capacity is about 2,270 megawatts with more projects in the pipeline, especially to use gas that Ghana hopes to produce from its oilfields offshore in the west of the country.
Hydro has the biggest component in production from three dams – Akosombo (1,020MW), Kpong (160MW) and Bui (400MW).
With the unreliable supply of gas from Nigeria, Ghana is using a Chinese loan to install its own equipment to produce gas for its plants.