The VRA’s Communications Manager, Samuel Fletcher, has disclosed that discussions are far advanced with other gas suppliers in Nigeria to acquire more gas via the West African Gas Pipeline in order to provide more power to Ghana’s ailing energy sector.
“We are talking to other suppliers in Nigeria who are not part of NGas. There are now discussions ongoing on how much to pay for the commodity,” Fletcher said.
Supply of gas from NGas, which is made up of Chevron, Shell and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and is the VRA’s main supplier in Nigeria, has been meagre within the last few months — delivering as low as 50MMscfd last month; a far cry from the expected 120MMscfd contractual volume.
Gas deliveries have only managed a peak of about 80MMscfd since the completion of the pipeline project in 2010 with long periods of non-deliveries, extending to over a year at a particular instance, due to technical challenges.
This has led to Ghana being plunged into an era of erratic power supply. Both domestic and industrial consumers have thus been fuming over the inability of the government to create significant change in the sector.
The poor fuel supply situation, together with maintenance and expansion works on some thermal plants at Aboadze in the Western Region, created an electricity deficit of some 300 megawatts in the national grid about three weeks ago, compelling the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to begin a power-rationing exercise.
“The West Africa Gas Pipeline is designed to carry up to 200MMscfd, so it won’t be a problem to transport any gas we secure outside NGas,” Fletcher explained
In recent days, slight improvements in gas supply has reduced the deficit and total peak demand is now about 1,950 megawatts, while power producers are able to supply 1,839 megawatts to the grid, creating a deficit of about 111 megawatts.