The Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) or Ghana Gas will begin full commercial operations on April 1, 2015.
The company currently produces 74 million standard cubic feet (scf) of gas but will increase production to 150 million scf by the end of the month.
The Chief Executive of the GNGC, Dr George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, stated this when he appeared before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Government Assurances yesterday.
He was accompanied by the Minister of Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah.
Dr Yankey was invited by the committee to provide information on when the gas plant would begin full production.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, during the presentation of the 2014 budget to Parliament, had indicated that the Atuabo gas plant would come on stream by the end of 2013.
That was affirmed by the then Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy and Petroleum laid its report on the budget estimates for 2014 on the floor of the House.
The company, however, changed the date of completion to April 2014
Based on the statements made by the two ministers, the committee embarked on a fact-finding tour of the company in July 2014 to ascertain whether the project was fully complete but it found out that it was not.
Dr Yankey’s assurances
Dr Yankey told the committee that although the plant would scale up production in April, the impact would not be felt if the power generation companies, such as the Takoradi International Company (TICO), were not ready to receive the gas for the production of electricity.
He said production of gas in commercial quantity would reduce the cost of production of power in the country by about 50 per cent.
He explained that it was cheaper to use natural gas to produce power, compared to crude oil, adding that the government would save the huge amount of foreign currency used to procure crude oil abroad.
“This will ensure that our foreign exchange earnings are saved. This will help strengthen our currency, ” he said.
The GNGC Chief Executive said the company’s potential to generate employment was enormous, adding that the company’s operations “will affect other sectors of the economy positively”.
He said about $1 billion had so far been spent on the project, with the China Development Bank (CDB) providing 85 per cent of the funds and the government of Ghana making available 15 per cent.
Dr Yankey said the company had embarked on many projects in the area of social responsibility, such as the construction of a hospital for the people living at Atuabo and the registration of about 1,000 people under the National Health Insurance Scheme.
According to him, the company had initiated moves to train engineers to operate the plant in a bid to strengthen local content.
He said some engineers had been sent to China and others to Europe to train.
Minister of Petroleum
Mr Buah, for his part, said the ministry was working in collaboration with the Ministry of Power to address the country’s power problems.
He revealed that the government was working on a master plan to ensure that pipelines were laid to all parts of the country and eventually every household.
If that project was carried out successfully, he said, the phenomenon of people carrying gas cylinders to buy gas would be a thing of the past.
Turning the spotlight on relations between Ghana Gas and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Mr Buah said the process of takeover of the former by the latter was still ongoing.
Source: Daily Graphic