VRA plans to shut down two more turbines

Akosombo dam

? gas supply to Atuabo too suspended

By Mohammed Suleman

Ghana appears not to be inching closer towards the end of the power crisis that has bedeviled the country over the last three years as the Volta River Authority (VRA)intends to shut down two more turbines of the country’s biggest power-generating plant, the Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam.
The Dam has run on four of its five turbines over the past months, contributing 632 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.
akosombo-damBut the drop in water levels over the past few months has left authorities with no option, but to shut down two more turbines.
According to the Authority, the Dam had been operating below its minimum level of 240 feet since last month.
In an interview with TV3 last Thursday, an electrical engineer at the Dam, Mr Ebo Amoah, said the situation could worsen in the coming days if the water level falls below 235feet.
?We have delayed in bringing the generators down,? noted Mr Amoah, adding , ?If you go below the 235, you will collapse the reservoir and for you to recover it, it will take a long time.?
Already, Tullow Oil plc, the operator of Ghana’s Jubilee oil field, had announced the suspension of gas export from the Jubilee field to the Ghana Gas Plant(GGP) at Atuabo.
The suspension, according to Tullow, was due to technical issues with the gas compression systems on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah and expected to resume operation by mid-August.
Tullow Oil in a statement said, ?Gas export from the Jubilee Field to the Ghana Gas plant at Atuabo has been suspended since 3 July 2015.?
It added, ?Tullow has mobilised a team of experts to rectify the fault within the gas compression system and estimates that it will take approximately a further three weeks to reinstate gas export and full oil production.?
The Company expressed regrets for the disruption caused by the suspension of gas export and assured the Ghanaian public that it was working hard to rectify the problem on the FPSO safely and speedily.
This means that the GGP which is currently supplying between 80 to 90 million standard cubic feet (mscf) of gas to the VRA’s Aboadze Thermal, will have to revert to crude oil, which is more expensive, in order to power the plants.
Though VRA has assured that crude oil has been made available to power the generators, many are those who remain skeptical about these promises in view of their previous experiences.
The cumulative effect of these two scenarios has meant that Ghanaians would have to brace themselves for an intense power outages until the arrival of the power badge from Turkey in September.

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