GAS export from the Floating Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO) Kwame Nkrumah was suspended yesterday morning following what Tullow described as an abnormality in compression.
Ms Akua K. Anarfi Twumasi from the External Communications Unit of Tullow Ghana Limited, lead operators of the Jubilee Fields confirmed this to The Finder.
She stated that export of gas is expected to commence in about 36 hours from the time the export was suspended.
As at the time of fining this report yesterday evening, the Volta River Authority (VRA) had not felt the impact of the shutdown because Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) pipelines had enough gas.
However, Ghana Gas is likely to ask VRA to shutdown this morning because the gas in the pipelines would run out.
Impact on AMERI
The shutdown would render the Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group’s (AMERI Energy) power plant, which uses only gas, to also shutdown.
This unexpected situation would force Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) to shed load and as a result plunge some areas into darkness.
In a related development, Tullow Ghana Limited, lead operators of Ghana’s main oil and gas exploration field, plans to begin a -15-day shutdown of operations at its offshore Jubilee Oil Field from February 3, 2017.
Inter-connection of TEN, Jubilee FPSO
The shutdown is to enable works on between the Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme (TEN) fields and the Jubilee Field for gas exportation from the FPSO Atta Mills.
The interconnection between Ghana’s first and second operating oil and gas fields will enable evacuation and export of additional natural gas from the TEN fields through the 58-km offshore pipeline of Ghana Gas to its onshore Atuabo Gas Processing Plant.
The shutdown will lead to immediate curtailment of production and export of natural gas from the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah to Atuabo and subsequent curtailment of lean gas from Atuabo to the Aboadze Thermal Enclave, which presently relies on gas from Ghana Gas to generate electricity.
Aboadze has been relying on Atuabo since November 2014 to supply lean gas to generate electricity from its thermal plants and there are fears that the inter-connection exercise could result in “dumsor” within the period.
220mw AMERI to shutdown
The single fired AMERI power plant which relies solely on gas will also shutdown down during the period resulting in the loss of 220megawatts of electricity.
Ghana Gas allays dumsor fears
Corporate Communications Manager of Ghana Gas, Mr. Alfred Ogbamey, is, however, hopeful that rolling power cuts christened ‘dumsor’ will be averted.
According to him, Tullow informed Ghana Gas of the shutdown months ago, as a result of which Ghana Gas has informed its stakeholders and industry partners to plan for the tie-in period.
“All stakeholders and partners along the gas production value chain have been informed and prepped for this. We anticipate that other stakeholders and the VRA, which has long been aware of this and captured it in their 2017 gas forecast, have put in place adequate measures to avert the consequential effect of the TEN inter-connection.”
He said Tullow’s inter-connection is essential to create a corridor from TEN to evacuate and bring additional natural gas on-stream to generate power. It would also enable the TEN fields to be linked to the Jubilee Field and Ghana Gas Offshore Pipeline, he said.
He admits, however, that the nation could face serious challenges within the period. “There’s a snag. VRA is presently unable to offtake their nominated volumes. Tullow and Ghana Gas have been ready to supply Aboadze with 90 million standard cubic feet of gas a day for awhile, but Aboadze’s TAPCO plants are out for maintenance. This has reduced VRA’s lean gas offtake since January.”
Mr. Ogbamey said though Tullow has indicated that the exercise will take 15 days, Ghana Gas has projected 18 days for the exercise to allow for exigencies should they arise.
Ghana Gas to install new gadget
He said Ghana Gas will take advantage of the curtailment in gas supply to also interconnect its installed second De-ethenizer Overhead Compressor at Atuabo.
“That will ensure that Atuabo will operate continuously without the need for 4000-hours scheduled maintenance disruptions. When one compressor has to be serviced after 4000 hours of operation, we’d now be able to switch onto the other and carry out works without halting production.”
Oil production began on the TEN fields through the FPSO Atta Mills in August 2016, with gas production projected for February 2017.
Similar to Jubilee, development of TEN includes the use of an FPSO, which will be tied in to subsea infrastructure across the field.
FPSO Kwame Nkrumah’s perennial challenges
Various challenges have hindered the delivery of a potential 120 million standard cubic feet of gas a day from the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah to the processing plant at Atuabo.
Since gas production commenced, Tullow Ghana has undertaken several unplanned shutdowns of the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah as a result of faulty compressor and other challenges.
Regular supply of gas from the Jubilee fields has been hindered by the continuous failing of the field operator, compressor at the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah.
The compressor used by the oil company works in a similar fashion as pumps.
It increases the pressure on a fluid and can transport the fluid through a pipe.
By Elvis DARKO, Accra