We bring fuel diversity – Karpower boss

Business News of Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Source: B&FT

Turkish Karpower 3Karpowership

Country Manager for Karpowership Ghana Limited, Robert Larry Kremer, has said a significant aspect of their project in Ghana is the addition of a “new and cheaper” fuel source — Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) — which should result in lower electricity prices.

“Currently, we are the cheapest power station in Ghana,” Kremer told the B&FT on the powership in Tema.

“VRA is running on natural gas, LCO and diesel. All these other sources of fuel, what is the cheapest one? Currently it is HFO, and it is always good to diversify that fuel portfolio for a country so you are not overly-reliant on one source, like Akosombo and the hydro assets.”

Aysegul Sultan, the first of the two power ships the company is providing, commenced power generation on Friday December 17, 2015, and was feeding some 220megawatts into the national grid at the time B&FT visited that same day.

“When you look at the fuel portfolio of Ghana, you are heavily reliant on Akosombo, the hydro assets and also natural gas. What the HFO does is bring a new and cheaper fuel source, so that is going to result in lower electricity prices,” Mr. Kremer said.

“When the water [in the Dam] runs low, what do you do? You go to your next solution, which is the natural Akosombo gas that is coming out of Nigeria — which is problematic from time to time up until you bring your own fuel online. So to have that added mix, one more additional fuel source that is cheaper than everything else thermal right now, that’s to the benefit of Ghana. It gives you that flexibility within the portfolio.”

The company has an arrangement with the GNPC for supplying HFO, and the expectation is that when gas from the Sankofa project comes on-stream the plant will be moved onto gas.

According to Kremer, once the Ghanaian side fulfils its contractual obligations there will be no cause for concern regarding power generation.

All twelve engines of the 235megawatt capacity power ship are currently running, and the 220 megawatts being generated is a little over guaranteed capacity.

The Power purchase agreement between the company and the ECG is for 225megawatts, but according to Kremer he will be adding a steam turbine in “the next few weeks” to beef-up capacity to 235megawatts. The second power ship, which is expected in the first quarter of next year, is to have similar capacity.

A press statement from the company over the weekend said the project is estimated to deliver savings to Ghana in the range of US$120million annually, as well as creating jobs for the country.

Regarding jobs, Mr. Kremer told the B&FT that over 60 Ghanaians have landed jobs as against 35 expatriates on the one hundred workforce-capacity power ship.

“Right now we have more than 60 Ghanaians, and over the next couple of years we will take that up to probably 90% or 95%. Currently, the reason we have a high number of expats is just for the handover, for the training, to make sure that the units run well and to make sure we keep our commitment on the power and everything else,” he said.