Gas supply from Nigeria could swell in the coming days as Chief Director of the Energy and Petroleum Ministry, Thomas Akabza, has hinted that the minister’s journey to? Nigeria over the gas conundrum “has not been fruitless”.
The Chief Director gave the hint yesterday during the award of certificates to wiring practitioners at the Energy Commission.
The Energy and Petroleum Minister, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, left for Nigeria on Monday for talks over the gas challenge and was expected back home by close of day Tuesday.
The minister, and the CEO of the Volta Riyer Authority, Kirk Koffie, are believed to have held discussions with suppliers in a bid to boost supply.
When asked to give further details, Prof. Akabza said: ?I will let the minister share that with Ghanaians.?
?But is the message a good one?? asked journalists. ?I think so,? Prof. Akabza said with a broad smile.
The ongoing rationing of power across the. country is blamed partly on a sharp drop in the volumes of gas received from Nigeria through the West Africa Gas Pipeline.
According to the VRA — the main recipient of the gas — supply has dropped to an all-time low of 30 million standard cubic feet per day, as against a contractual volume of around 120 million standard cubic feet per day.
Supply had ranged between 60 million and 90 million standard cubic feet per day before the sharp drop.
?The problem has been that in Nigeria there are a number of challenges. Mostly, the pipelines are vandalised; and because these pipelines feed into the main pipeline, when they are vandalised it affects supply. The other thing is that there is also growing competition in Nigeria for gas”, Akabza explained.
The country is currently missing close to 300 megawatts due to the gas supply deficit, as well as expansion works at the Takoradi T2 thermal plant.
“We are expanding the machine from a single cycle of 330 megawatts.
?We cannot do the tie-in with a third unit if we don’t shut down the machine. So 220 megawatts that we could easily have had is not available,” Samuel Fletcher, VRA’s Head of Corporate Communications told the B&FT.
“Currently, at peak we are missing about 250 megawatts in the system,” he said.
Only two units of the 400 megawatt Bui hydroelectric dam is currently in operation. The dam, contrary to what some government functionaries say, is a peaking plant that generates electricity at peak times only in the day.
The VRA estimates that electricity demand increased by 10 per cent in 2012 and by 12 per cent in 2013.
Looking at the demand, Mr. Fletcher noted: ?We need to be bringing on-stream 250 megawatts of power per year?.