‘Dumsor’ Crisis: VRA worsening the problem

General News of Monday, 26 January 2015

Source: The Finder

Samuel Fletcher VRA PRO

Investigations by The Finder indicate that the inability of the Volta River Authority (VRA) to utilise the 120 million standard cubic feet of gas per day produced by the Jubilee partners is partly responsible for the worsening power crisis.

VRA can generate 550 megawatts of power every day from 120 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.

The power crisis is worsening because the VRA has failed to meet the deadline given to restore its thermal plants in Takoradi to utilise the 120 million standard cubic feet of gas.

VRA first promised to complete the repair works in October last year, but shifted it to December ending.

But 26 days into the New Year, VRA now says Ghanaians should wait until March before the plants can be ready to utilise the 120 million standard cubic feet gas per day to generate 550 megawatts to ameliorate the worsening power cuts.

Currently, Jubilee partners and Ghana Gas Company are ready to give VRA 120 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, but VRA cannot take all.

VRA is able to take between 53 million and 60 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to generate 230 megawatts of power a day.

Mr Samuel Fletcher, Head of Corporate Communications of VRA, in a statement, said VRA can use the full 120 million standard cubic feet gas from Atuabo in March 2015.

According to the VRA, it is unable to fully utilise the gas produced by the Ghana National Gas Company because some of its plants are down.

Mr Fletcher said, currently, all units at the VRA’s T1 and T3 plants are running on gas supply from Ghana Gas Company since November 2014, with the exception of the TICO units, which are not ready to run on gas.

“However, the first TICO unit has recently been returned to service after a long outage and we expect the process of conversion to gas to be completed within the next two weeks to increase gas consumption to about 80 million standard cubic feet,” he said.

He explained that the second TICO unit has been taken out of service for scheduled maintenance and will be available in March.

“Accordingly, the full 120 million standard cubic feet can be used from March 2015,” he noted.

Mr Fletcher explained that TICO has not been able to complete the commissioning of its plants to gas due to the erratic and inadequate supply of gas from Nigeria.

“TICO is, therefore, unable to immediately start operating on gas as the units require some work before the fuel switch.

“TICO units have run solely on crude oil since completion in 2000 and therefore need some fine tuning to run successfully on gas,” he stated.

In an attempt to shift blame, Mr Fletcher noted that all things are not equal at Ghana Gas as Dr Kwesi Botchwey admits, because the gas commissioning process is not complete for full normal operations, adding that “so we, like Ghana Gas, need forbearance.”

According to Mr Fletcher, Dr Botchwey admits in his article that gas supply has been stable since January 5, two months after commissioning, which is not unusual.

He noted that Dr Botchwey himself admits the difficulties with the commissioning process of Ghana Gas. He says in his own words: “All things being equal, we now expect that the commissioning process will be significantly concluded by the end of January 2015.

“We look forward to the commencement of full and normal operations, which will pave the way for the commencement of phase two of the project…”