Ghana Gas says fears of possible blow-out at FPSO are baseless
The Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) says attempts to use fears of a blow-out of the Ghana Gas facilities to rationalize a delayed tie-in of its pipeline to the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah have no basis.
The company said it is a misconception to suggest that the tie-in of the FPSO riser to Ghana Gas facilities could lead to “an unexpected accident or a blow-out,” saying facilities such as the Gas Processing Plant (GPP) have in-built relief mechanisms and several layers of protection to address operational upsets.
“The news of a request for an audit before the tie-in to avoid a “blow-out” is, therefore, a moot point,” Communications Manager at Ghana Gas, Mr. Alfred Ogbamey, said in a statement issued Tuesday in response to a Daily Graphic report Monday.
“Ghana Gas will like to stress that the 58-kilometre upstream Offshore Pipeline and 111-kilometre downstream Onshore Pipeline have both been hydro-tested successfully at pressures higher than the anticipated operating pressures, with no leakages whatsoever identified. Various modules of the GPP have also been tested successfully” Ghana Gas stated.
The state-owned Daily Graphic newspaper, quoting un-named officials at Tullow, reported Monday that the Jubilee partners have “demanded an independent audit of the facilities at the plant before hooking it up to the production platform to avert any unexpected accident or blowout that could endanger the multi-billion dollar onshore and offshore investments.”
The report said Tullow and partners were against the decision to connect the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant to the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah until an audit of the Atuabo Plant and Tullow’s FPSO facilities to confirm the integrity of the two facilities and their various linkages is completed.
The report also suggested that an initial plan to create a by-pass to carry gas onshore from the FPSO to pipelines leading to the Aboadze Thermal Plant was ignored by Ghana Gas, despite progression of work and huge investments by the partners in purchasing equipment for the project.
But the Communications Manager at Ghana Gas in a rejoinder to clear the issues sent to the Graphic yesterday, said the use of the audit argument to justify a delay in the tie-in process was irrelevant.
The Communications Manager indicated that the blame for the delay of the by-pass cannot also be attributed in any way to Ghana Gas and that the company has been supportive of the construction of the by-pass system in spite of significant delays on the part of the Jubilee partners. “Ghana Gas remains committed to the installation of the by-pass system” he noted.
Below is the full statement:
Re: Jubilee Partners Demand Audit of Atuabo Plant
Our attention has been drawn to a Daily Graphic report on page 65 of its Monday, August 11, 2014 edition, titled “Jubilee Partners Demand Audit of Atuabo Plant”, and wish to clear certain wrong impressions contained in the report.
Ghana Gas wishes to explain that it is a misconception to suggest that the tie-in of the FPSO riser to our PLET (Pipeline End Termination) could lead to “an unexpected accident or a blow-out.” The truth is that facilities such as the Gas Processing Plant (GPP) have in-built relief mechanisms and several layers of protection to address upset situations.
Ghana Gas will like to stress that the 58-kilometre upstream Offshore Pipeline and 111-kilometre downstream Onshore Pipeline have both been hydro-tested successfully at pressures higher than the anticipated operating pressures, with no leakages whatsoever identified. Various modules of the GPP have also been tested successfully.
We wish to note that after mechanical completion and pre-commissioning of every facility, the owners and contractors normally initiate an audit of the facility to ensure its safety, integrity and reliability. Typically, results of such audits are shared with stakeholders and remedial measures, if required, undertaken to address issues. Ghana Gas has already initiated this process by contracting a consultant to perform the safety audit. The Jubilee Field partners led by Tullow Oil were duly informed of this.
The news of a request for an audit before the tie-in to avoid a “blow-out” is therefore a moot point. Furthermore, during normal operations after tie-in, either Tullow or Ghana Gas has the ability to shut their control valves to isolate the two systems, if operational exigencies require that. The well-head of the natural gas reservoirs are controlled by the Jubilee Partners. In the event of the tie-in, they would have to still open the well-head for the gas to flow. It is, therefore, important to note that the tie-in can be performed within the five-day period, with the well-head only being opened upon completion of the audit process in question, if need be.
It is important to note that Ghana Gas has been supportive of the construction of the by-pass system. In fact, the by-pass is part of Ghana Gas operational configuration as it provides an important operational relief in case of any upset at the GPP. It was part of the original construction plan of the GPP to be executed after construction of the first phase and at the time of the installation of the Turbo Expander component (part of the second phase) when the Gas Plant has to shut down, to enable basic gas flow to meet the VRA and other customer needs.
The truth, however, is that the initial connecting Tees that the Jubilee partners provided Ghana Gas were out of specification. A review of the design was carried out prior to the installation of these materials, and it was noticed that instead of providing Reducing Tees (RT) for 12” to 6” piping, Tullow rather provided Weldolet which does not conform to the standard for our piping class specification.
Accordingly, Ghana Gas wrote to Tullow and requested for the replacements of the Weldolet with 12” to 6” RT by July 28, 2014 for the purpose of consistency in design and safety of the pipeline. Significantly, Tullow only informed Ghana Gas on August 12, 2014, a day after the Daily Graphic report credited to Tullow’s own officials that the Tees arrived last Friday. Interestingly, the Tees are yet to be cleared from the ports for handing over to Ghana Gas.
Ghana Gas is also waiting for the procurement of a heater, a long lead item, by Tullow to address low temperature issues that may arise due to gas expansion along the systems.
In spite of all these challenges, Ghana Gas remains committed to the installation of the by-pass system.
Corporate Communications Manager
Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas)
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