What could have passed as normal inter-agency communica-tion in the power sector has led to a serious clash between the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) and the Ministry of Power over who is to blame for the increase in the load-shedding situation in the country.
This follows a rebuff by Ghana Gas of a claim by the Ministry of Power that Ghana Gas was responsible for the situation.
The Power Ministry had, in a press release yesterday, attributed the current increase in the quantum of load shedding to the shutdown of the Atuabo gas plant to enable the African Middle-East Investment (AMERI) power plant to be connected to the gas supply system of Ghana Gas.
The release, signed by Mr Kweku Sersah-Johnson, the Head of Corporate Affairs of the ministry, said the AMERI plant at Aboadze currently being installed was expected to generate an additional 250 megawatts into the National Interconnected Transmission System when fully commissioned.
It said engineers of both Ghana Gas and AMERI were working around the clock to complete the connection of the gas line to ameliorate the recent decline in power supply.
The release, therefore, requested the public to bear with the situation, as the gas line connection was expected to be completed soon.
It did not give a timeline for the installation but only asked the public “to bear with the situation as the gas line connection is expectted to be completed soon”.
In a sharp rebuttal, however, Ghana Gas, in a statement, said the assertion that the current increase in load shedding had come about as a result of a shutdown of its plant was incorrect.
The statement, signed by the Head of Corporate Affairs of Ghana Gas, Mr Alfred Ogbame, said the company had no contract regarding the ongoing works on the AMERI power plant being installed at the Aboadze power enclave.
It said, however, that because of the experience gained in pipelines construction over the past four years, engineers of Ghana Gas were only assisting the Volta River Authority (VRA) to connect the AMERI plant to its power systems.
It said on November 12, 2015, Ghana Gas received a written request from the VRA to shut down its processing and supply of lean gas to enable it (VRA) to connect the AMERI plant to its existing gas pipeline between November 23 and 27, 2015.
“Consequently, Ghana Gas honoured the request and shut down Atuabo on November 23, 2015 to enable the VRA and the sector ministry to tie the AMERI plant onto the VRA facilities.
“The shutdown of the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant was, therefore, at the instance of the VRA, which claimed that it had made adequate arrangements for light crude oil to power its Aboadze plant and avoid a shortfall in energy generation.
“Ghana Gas, therefore, finds the attempt by the Ministry of Power to mislead the public on this matter disingenuous and unhelpful,” the statement said.
It added that Ghana Gas did not have any challenge, whatsoever, with the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant.
“Today, November 24, 2015, marks exactly a year since Ghana Gas delivered the first lean gas to the VRA. There has been no safety incidents recorded at the plant or unplanned outage within the same period,” it added.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the VRA, Mr Kirk Koffi, told the Daily Graphic that Ghana Gas was only helping the VRA to tie in the AMERI plant and that exercise had necessitated the need for Ghana Gas to shut down temporarily.
He said the exercise, which would be completed by the weekend, would certainly affect power supply for a short time.