Consumers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), in the Western and Central regions can heave a sigh of relief with the coming on board of a ?A ship to Bulk Road Vehicle transfer?,( STB), an arrangement where LPG is discharged from the ship directly into BRV?s.
This is a collaboration between the Ministry of Energy, National Petroleum Authority and Fuel Trade,a bulk distribution firm.
This is a temporal arrangement to add another facility to that of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and is expected to add more (400 Metric Tonnes) of LPG a day unto the markets of the Western and Central regions in addition to the already 1,000 to 1,200 metric tonnes a day nationwide.
After some initial hitches, the project took off with a test run from Thursday, November 1 to Saturday, November 3, 2012 with 1,200 metric tonnes. This is anticipated to serve the western and central regions, with the success of the test run, a consignment of 1,200metric tones will arrive in Takoradi every week to serve the Western and Central regions. This week, about 1,800 metric tones have been discharged.
This is going to continue until government is able to put into use the two facilities at Tema that is the Redfins? floating barge and Fuel Trade?s storage and loading gantry next year.
The success of the three day test run is an indication of the observance of all safety protocols and regimes that has been put in place for the safe operation of the ship to BRV operation.
This is a further reinforcement that the challenge with LPG in Ghana is not the product itself but the constraint in infrastructure.
The peculiar nature of Ghana?s LPG supply cycle is such that a disruption of two (2) days to the cycles causes shortages of five to seven days. This is the reason why even though products are being supplied to the market currently, pockets of shortages still exist in some parts of the country.
As part of the remedial measures taken by the NPA to mitigate the shortages and its effects on consumers, NPA has given out licenses to Private firms to resolve the LPG problem.
?There are also a number of medium to long term measures in the pipe line. Currently under construction is a 4,000mt capacity tank farm and Gantry that can supply 1000mt a day in Tema by Fuel Trade; this is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2013.
The Ghana Gas Company?s Processing Plant is also expected to come on stream by the third quarter of 2013. When all these initiatives are completed, incidents of LPG shortages could be only a chapter in history books.