Petroleum Commission Woos More Investors …As Power Generation Shifts To Gas

The Petroleum Commission says rising electricity demand that has necessitated a shift from hydro power generation to thermal power generation requires more investors in the oil and gas sector that will produce gas to power thermal plants.

In electricity generation, “there is a shift toward thermal power generation. The focus will be on gas. So if investors find gas, there is a good gas price regime to reward your investment,” said Mr. Theo Ahwireng, Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission.

He was speaking at fifth Ghana Oil and Gas Summit held at the Accra International Conference Centre.

Ghana’s total peak electricity demand is now estimated to be 1,950 megawatts, while power producers are able to supply 1,839 megawatts to the grid — creating a deficit of about 111 megawatts.

Over the long-term (2014-2021) it projects electricity demand to grow at an average of 7 percent annually, rising from 1,950MW to 3,300MW in 2021.

The country’ energy-mix is made up of 1180 MW hydro by VRA; Bui Hydro 400MW; thermal (VRA) 922MW; thermal – Independent Power Producers 310MW; and solar 2.5MW.

The shortfall is electricity production is attributable to a shortfall in gas supply from Nigeria via the West African Gas Pipeline (WGP), and the inability to bring on-stream gas supply from Ghana’s Jubilee Field due to non-completion of Ghana’s gas processing plant.

About 71million standard cubic feet of gas per day is currently being received by the country, as against the contractual volume of 20 million standard cubic feet per day.

This has meant the VRA spends huge sums of money on the purchase of crude oil to power its thermal plants for electricity generation.

The missed timelines with the gas processing plant, and challenges with oil production as a result of gas re-injection by the Jubilee Field oil producers, has prompted debate about a bypass gas pipeline from the oil field directly to the Volta River Authority’s thermal plants in Aboadze.

The VRA is currently in talks with other gas suppliers in Nigeria to secure more gas to augment what is received from the NGAS partners via the WGP.

The Chief Executive of the Volta River Authority, Kirk Koffi, told the B&FT that the Authority’s machines can run on both crude oil and gas. “We would prefer to have gas because generating power with gas is cheaper and clean, and doesn’t require a lot of spending on maintenance.”

In an effort to ensure local participation in the sector, Mr. Ahwireng said his outfit will embark on a local manpower recruitment drive to ensure the requisite manpower is identified and trained to ensure local participation in the entire value chain of the country’s oil and gas sector.

He said in addition to the local content legislation that came into force on February 19, 2014, a number of other regulations and guidelines are being developed. “We want to ensure Ghanaians participate in the oil and gas sector.

“Investors should come to the Commission with any problems they may have to be addressed. We will work with you to secure your investments in Ghana,” he said.

The three-day oil and gas summit organised by CWC Group, being held between April 8-10, 2014, has brought together investors and over 40 speakers with distinguished careers in oil and gas, including senior government officials and operators.