Bear with us: Energy Minister in Nigeria to discuss gas supply

The Ministry of Energy has apologised to Ghanaians for the inconvenience caused by the current load-management exercise being undertaken by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

A statement signed by the Head of Communications at the Ministry of Energy, Mr Edward Abambire Bawa, and issued in Accra Monday said the ministry promised working closely with the utility companies to ensure that “these challenges are resolved by the earliest possible date”.

It said President John Dramani Mahama yesterday dispatched the Minister of Energy, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, to Nigeria to discuss with the Nigerian authorities ways in which they could ensure that the current 30 million standard cubic feet of gas supplied to Ghana was raised to the contractual volume of 120 million standard cubic feet per day.

Mr Buah is accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Mr Isaac Kirk Koffie.

While in Nigeria, Mr Buah will meet with the Minister of Petroleum of the Republic of Nigeria, officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell and Chevron, who together form N-Gas and are the suppliers of natural gas to Ghana. 

The minister will also consult with officials of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company and the West Africa Gas Pipeline Authority.

Mr Buah is expected back today, March 18, 2014.
Meanwhile, the ECG has said consumers across the country will, from tomorrow, experience up to 12 hours of power outage after 24 hours of power supply as part of a nationwide load management to address a shortfall in the power supply of the country.

The arrangement is part of a nationwide load-management programme to address a shortfall of power in the country.

The shortfall has occurred due to a drastic drop in the gas supply from the West Africa Gas Pipeline.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the Head of Public Relations at the ECG, Mr William Boateng, said the country was currently experiencing an off-peak deficit of 160 megawatts, while the peak period suffered a 350 megawatt deficit. 12-hour outage

According to him, the load management would see customers of the company having 24 hours of uninterrupted power supply followed by 12 hours of outage. Unknown timeline?

Mr Boateng did not give a timeline for the restoration of normal power supply but said it might take a few weeks.

He added, however, that as soon as things got better, the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) would direct the ECG to reduce the number of hours until normalcy returned.

Mr Frank Okyere, the Systems Control Manager of GRIDCo, explained that the challenges experienced lately in electricity supply was as a result of a shortage brought about by demand outstripping supply. Demand versus supply

But, according to the Public Relations Officer of the VRA, Mr Samuel Fletcher, one of the problems hindering power generation was the increasing rate of demand of electricity which was not keeping up with supply.

Over the last one year, he said, the demand for power had increased by 12 per cent.

“Demand for electricity is rising at an alarming rate,” he stated. Expansion works

In addition, he said, the TICO Plant in Takoradi had been shut down for expansion works which, when completed, would increase the power generated from 220 to 330 megawatts. 

He encouraged Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of saving energy, so that more energy could be reserved for use in times of crisis.   President on energy at breakfast meeting

Meanwhile, at a breakfast meeting with senior members of the clergy at the Flagstaff House in Accra yesterday, President Mahama attributed the disturbing energy situation to a drastic drop in gas supply from Nigeria, writes Kwame Asare Boadu.

Painting what appeared to be a gloomy picture of the power situation, he said gas supply from the WAGP had dropped to almost zero.

Unlike the previous situation, Mr Mahama said, “the pipeline this time is not damaged but the volumes of gas Nigeria is currently piping to Ghana are woefully inadequate”.

The situation, he said, had led to Ghana losing about 270 megawatts of power. Solution

President Mahama said it had become difficult to predict gas supply from Nigeria now.

“Now we can’t predict the volumes of gas that will be coming from Nigeria anymore. That is why I have focused on delivering our own gas. Probably by June or July we will have full supply in place,” he assured Ghanaians. 

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