President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on December 7, 2019 turned on the valves for the use of natural gas from the Eni-OCTP fields to enable the 450 megawatts Karpowership use lean gas instead of heavy oil fuel (HFO).
In his speech, he gave a long list of the benefits of gas and how the switch of the Karpowership to natural gas, would save electricity users an amount of $170.5 million per year and a projected amount of $1.2 million over the remaining term, by way of reduced electricity charges to consumers.
To quote the president “the use of natural gas helps bring down the cost of electricity, saves our country and makes it possible for us to look at a secure source of powering the transformation of our country’s economy and for industrial development of Ghana. That is our goal.’’
Really? Mr. President! When did the president come to this realisation? Is this not the useless, expensive, take or pay gas project you condemned in opposition and continue to criticise even in your recent budgets?
Was your quote from President Mahama? The reason why former president John Dramani Mahama spent sleepless nights and led a historic effort to bring the Eni-OCTP Project on stream is exactly the statement you just made.
It was part of a comprehensive effort to address Ghana’s energy challenges as well as address the issue of fuel security for our thermal plants.
After the successful completion of the Atuabo gas project, the next effort was the historic Eni’s OCTP project to utilize the associated and non-Associated Sankofa gas. This project represents a game-changer in the country’s gas-to-power ambitions with about 45,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and 180 mmscf of Gas, enough to generate 1,000 MW of power daily.
The task then was to ensure that power plants were in place and ready to receive the ENI Gas. This culminated in the process of implementing an aggressive and well-coordinated programme by contracting Thermal Plants such as the Karpowership, Ameri, AKSA, KTPP aimed at utilising the anticipated Gas to be delivered from the ENI Gas.
The NPP government failed to do two simple but critical assignments with costly consequences when they took over power in January 2017.
Before the NDC left office we initiated processes to interconnect the Ghana National Gas Transmission System with the West African Gas Pipeline System part of the broader Long Term vision to ensure a sustainable and reliable supply of Gas. This is to allow a reverse flow of gas from the West (Takoradi) to the East to serve power plants in the Tema enclave. This initiative received cabinet approval before the NDC left office. This was so critical to ensuring that the ENI Gas was not stranded, sadly this new government failed to prioritise this project.
NDC government also commenced the process of locating the 450MW Karpowership Badge to Takoradi to replace the 250MW Ship in Tema to off-take part of the Gas.
Unfortunately it took Nana Addo and his government three long years of inertia and procrastination resulting in the delay of the relocation of the Karpowership to the Sekondi Naval base. This is the main reason why the Eni Gas was stranded and resulted in a huge cost to the Ghanaian tax payer.
Finally, if the government has seen the light as stated by President Nana Akuf-Addo that the Eni gas project and the karpowreship and its relocation to the west for gas utilization will ensure cost savings for electricity users then the honourable thing to do is to give former president John Mahama and the NDC the credit and commit to address all the other outstanding issues that will ensure our energy security.
By Armah-Kofi Buah (MP)