Energy transition: Natural gas, best fuel for Ghana — Ghana Gas CEO
THE Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), Dr Ben K.D. Asante, says natural gas is Ghana’s best stepping stone to a climate-friendly environment powered by renewable energy.
Citing the findings of a research by Ghana Gas, the oil and gas engineer told the Daily Graphic in Houston, Texas, that a heavy reliance on gas as fuel for thermal plants as against light crude oil would reduce the energy bill by 50 per cent and also cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 80 per cent.
Ghana currently has about 15 thermal plants that generate about 3,753 megawatts (MW) of electricity in Takoradi in the Western Region and Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
Speaking to the paper after participating in an Africa forum on the energy transition at the just-ended Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), Dr Asante said although Ghana and Africa in general must not be rushed into making the shift to renewables, cheaper and cleaner alternatives could be explored as bridge fuels to help lengthen the use of fossil fuels and the exploitation of the hydrocarbons.
He was speaking on the role gas can play in the energy transition.
Dr Asante, who sat through the programme, said Africa needed technical and financial resources to be able to participate fully in the energy transition.
But while it explored the avenues to raise resources and built the technical capacity, the petroleum engineer said it needed to find smarter ways of lengthening its uses of fossil fuel.
This, he said, made gas a smarter option.
“Takoradi is generating about 1,000 MW of power.
When you use light crude oil, our bill, even when you are looking at crude oil at $60 per barrel, is about $70 million per month to generate a 1,000mw.
When we use gas instead of the light crude oil, our monthly bill is just about $33 million.”
“So, you see a significant reduction in our bill when we use gas instead of oil. But it does not end there,” he said.
“We also talk about the atmospheric emissions as well.
When we use oil, we are able to get into the atmosphere with CO2 to the tune of about 8.3 million tonnes per year but when we use natural gas, we only release just about 1.3 million tonnes per year for the same amount of energy of a 1,000MW that we generate in Takoradi.
“So, you see that you do not only have significant savings by using gas instead of oil but you also have significant atmospheric responsiveness when you use gas,” the Ghana Gas CEO said.
Meanwhile, the energy transition forum, which was on the theme: Building resilience in Africa’s energy sector in the wake of energy transition,’ brought together policy makers, experts and investors in Africa’s energy sector to explore the impact of energy transition on the continent and how it should approach it.
It was in two parts: opening speeches from Ghana’s Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, and the Permanent Secretary of Nigeria's Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ambassador Gabriel Taminu Aduba, and a panel discussion by private sector players and regulators from the continent.
The panel comprised the CEO of the Petroleum Commission, Ghana, Egbert Faibille Jr, who also represented Ghana’s Minister of Energy; the Executive Vice President and Head of Kosmos Ghana, Joe Mensah; the Chairman of the Association of Tanzania Oil and Gas Service Providers, Abdulsamad Abdulrahim, and the Chief Technical Officer of the Niger Delta Exploration and Production Plc in Nigeria, Ebenezer Ageh.
It was moderated by Dr Kwame Boakye Agyei of the Ghana Upstream Petroleum Chamber.