General News of Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, who had earlier debunked assertions that Ghana is returning to the era of erratic power supply, popularly known as ‘dumsor’, has retreated with an explanation that the situation now is not as bad as what Ghanaians experienced under the NDC for nearly three years.
Most parts of Accra and Kumasi have over the past few weeks, suffered frequent power outages, sparking concerns of a possible return to the days of “dumsor,” where power was rationed in the country, killing businesses and causing many to lose their jobs.
But the Minister for Energy, John Peter Amewu in an earlier Citi News interview suggested that there were challenges of supplying gas to some of the country’s installed power plants particularly the Karpower plant at Tema in Accra.
He said the Ministry, while working to move the plant from Tema to Takoradi where constant gas supply is guaranteed, is looking to find light crude oil to be used to power other plants that are able to be fuel with both light crude and gas.
“Number one is to get some light crude oil as a substitute for some of the plants that are dualized. Like the gas is not available, we should be able to use the light crude oil as a substitute. We are working day in and day out to make sure that we relocate the Karpower plant from Tema to Takoradi. When that is done, there is going to be sustainable gas supply directly to the power. We are not yet at all near the era of dumsor. Dumsor is a thing of the past and we need to work to make sure that we don’t come back to the era any longer,” he said.
But speaking at a news conference today; Monday, to explain the course of the erratic power supply and what government is doing to tackle the situation, Mr. Amewu said, “When you put off the lights, we say dumsor; isn’t it? In the past three years, it was ‘dum kuraa’ [completely off]. We’re not in an era of ‘dum kuraa’. The lights may go off as we are witnessing, but I can assure you that, that long period that we envisaged that our opponents think that they want to capitalize on, that period will never come because we’re managing the system.
We have people here to manage the system, and we can give assurance to Ghanaians that the situation now is very much under control” he said.
Financial challenges partly responsible for ‘dumsor’ – Amewu clarifies
Also at the news conference, it emerged that the government’s inability to reach an agreement with the West African Gas Pipeline Authority (WAGPA), concerning charges for the transfer of gas from the Western part of the country to the East, has partly contributed to the erratic power supply, popularly referred to as ‘dumsor’.
This was announced by Mr. Amewu, despite an earlier denial that the challenges were due to technical challenges and not financial issues.
The Minister said while the West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCO), expected US$3.2 per MMBtu as tariff, the government was willing and ready to pay US$1 per MMBtu.
He further explained that the West African Gas Pipeline Authority (WAGPA), the regulator for the company, however issued a new tariff of US$1.7 per MMBTu which the government finds more favourable and is awaiting approval by the committee of ministers of West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP).
“Our major challenge has been the incomplete reverse flow project to flow gas from the West to the East. We had to fast-track it through a by-pass which has been completed, but not connected to the West African Gas Pipeline yet. This is because WAGPA has not come out with the tariff for the reverse flow, and WAPCO will not sign the Gas Transportation Agreement (GTA) without a tariff.
WAPCO wants to charge US $3.2 MMBtu, whilst we want to pay US$1 MMBtu.”
According to the Energy Minister, Ghana had enough gas produced in the Western Region, and it has completed the project to get the gas to Tema to fuel the country’s gas-powered plants, but cannot connect it to the West African Gas Pipeline until the necessary financials are completed with the West African Gas Pipeline Authority.
“[The new amount] will now be approved by the Committee of Ministers of WAGP on 30th November, 2018, that is, coming Friday, to pave the way for the signing of the GTA, to allow for the connection of the by-pass.”
“This will ensure 60mmscfd can flow from the West to the East until the reverse flow project is completed.”