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Damaged system at Tema Port to disrupt gas supplies

BY: Benjamin Xornam Glover
The ruptured loading arm
The ruptured loading arm

Ghana’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) supplies are expected to face some disruptions due to an  unanticipated damage to a loading arm at the Oil Jetty at the Tema Port.

The situation has necessitated the suspension of LPG operations at the jetty, which handles about 80 per cent of LPG that comes into the country.

The loading arm ruptured due to strong winds during a discharge of the product from a cargo vessel.

The jetty is a birthing facility where oil/ LPG  tankers dock at ports of entry to offload cargo, which is piped or transmitted to the storage facilities onshore.

Damage

In an interview, the Harbour Master, Capt. Christian Yeboah-Asante said on May 25, 2018 at about 1 p.m. while the product was being discharged from a tanker, MT Junefrau Explorer, a severe storm occured causing the vessel to move.


He said the loading arms have been designed to allow a certain level of movement of the vessel, however, during the storm, the vessel opened up,  causing damage to the loading arm, which is basically a steel pipe that permits the transfer of products from the vessel to a storage facility.

The captain, however, said the damage to the loading arm would not affect discharge of other petroleum products at the jetty.

No cause for alarm

Despite the suspension of LPG operations at the Tema jetty, the Ministry of Energy and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) have allayed fears of LPG shortage. 

The Deputy Minister of Energy, in charge of Petroleum, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Hassan Tampuli, who toured the facility last Thursday  to inspect the damaged portion, insisted that alternative steps had been taken to ensure regular supply of LPG to the domestic market.

Dr Adam said there were alternative routes that the government was going to activate through the NPA to ensure constant supply of the product to the market.

"As you already know, Ghana Gas supply 50 per cent of the product to the market but they have been operating below capacity so we will have to fall on them to increase supply," he said.

The minister added that the old bauxite jetty in Takoradi would also be activated to receive vessels for the off loading of the product.

"We are going to use the appropriate options available to us to ensure that we continue to supply gas to the market. We will not have any shortage of LPG. The product will continue to flow into the market. This is a natural disaster but we are not going to sleep over it," he further assured.

Reserve stock

For his part, Mr Tampuli said  the country had two and half weeks of supply which was enough to sustain the market as the engineers worked to fix the problem.

He said in addition to the alternatives suggested by the minister, the NPA had been assured by engineers working on the ruptured pipes that the materials needed for the repair works would arrive in the country on June 1, 2018  from either Nigeria or Cote d'Ivoire.

Upon taking delivery of the materials, he said, it would take about four days to fix the loading arm.

"We have a window of seven days to fix this and we have been assured by the engineers that it is possible they can fix it within four days. If it is possible that they can do it over the weekend, they are prepared to do so," Mr Tampuli indicated.