Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Limited has assured that it would continue to produce its 180 megawatts of power daily as long as it received the requisite gas supply from the West African Gas Pipeline.
Mr. Kweku Shaw Lee, Chairman of Sunon Asogli Power Ghana Limited, an independent Power Producer, said although it had some challenges with consistency of gas supply from the WAGP, which sometimes caused it to halt production, it was committed to helping alleviate the effects of the current power crisis by producing up to their full capacity when gas was available.
Briefing the media during a visit to its plant, on Monday, as part of activities leading up to the 55th Anniversary Celebration of Ghana-China bilateral relations, Mr. Lee said, that although pressure of the gas supply was sometimes low, leading to a reduction in the amount of power produced daily, it was only when there was no gas supply at all from Nigeria that it was forced to shut down completely.
“During low pressure days like today, the plant only reduces the amount of power produced. We only stopped production for two and a half days because there was no gas,” he said.
“We have been back in operation since last week. Today the pressure was low and we produced 165 megawatts this morning, instead of 180mw. We have an advantage because our plant is able to handle low pressures.” he said.
He explained that the challenge with gas supply from Nigeria was not only a result of industrial actions in that country, but also because Nigeria currently consumed a lot of gas domestically and thus is not always able to provide as much gas to the WAGP as agreed.
Mr. Lee said although the Ghana Gas Project was a prospective solution to gas supply challenge for power generation in Ghana, it was currently not producing enough gas to satisfy demand in Takoradi and Tema.
Also, he said, there was currently no infrastructure to convey gas from Atuabo to Tema.
He, however, expressed the hope that in two years, pipeline infrastructure would be put in place to carry gas to Tema, while enough gas would be produced to satisfy the total demand in Ghana.
Mr. Lee said the company, in the expression of its commitment, was undertaking an expansion project that upon completion would add 360 megawatts to its installed capacity, bringing the total installed capacity of Sunon Asogli to 560 megawatts.
The first unit of the expansion; which would add 180 megawatts is expected to be completed by end of 2014, while the entire project is expected to be completed by mid-2016.
The plant, he noted, continued to generate up to 14 per cent of the total power demand of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
Mr. Lee also noted that ECG’s indebtedness to Sunon Asogli, which amounted to about $100 million dollars, was a major challenge to its work, as it meant that they in turn could also not pay the Volta River Authority for the supply of gas from the WAGP, and thus creating a cycle of debt in the power production sector.
Currently, the plant owes VRA about $100 million.
He, however, commended the Government for its handling of the issue, which had ensured the supply of gas from Nigeria, a sign of government’s commitment to developing Independent Power Production to augment the power needs of the country.
The Sunon Asogli Power Ghana Limited is owned by Shenzhen Energy of China, who owns a 60 per cent stake, and the China Africa Development Fund, a Chinese Government fund, which owns the remaining 40 per cent.