Technical hurdles affect Atuabo gas commissioning schedule

The Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) – operator of the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant – says it is working with state power producer, Volta River Authority (VRA) and Tullow Oil to scale certain hurdles encountered concerning the plant’s ongoing commissioning process – a situation which GNGC admits has affected the commissioning schedule.

The VRA, according to a statement issued Wednesday December 17, 2014 signed by GNGC Board Chairman Prof Kwesi Botchey, has nonetheless benefitted from substantial flow of gas for power production from the Atuabo plant.

The statement said: “The Board of the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) can confirm that we are currently supplying the Volta River Authority (VRA) with gas at 50-53 million standard cubic feet per day (50-53MMSCFD), which is generating between 150-200 MW of power at Aboadze.

“Aboadze is, therefore, currently relying solely on gas from Atuabo to power the various plants in the enclave, and we are looking to ramp up flow from the current average of 50MMSCFD to the design flow of 150MMSCFD by end of this month (December 2014),” the statement said.

GNGC’s current permits from the Energy Commission and Petroleum Commission allow the company to flow up to 150MMSCFD.

However, the statement noted, a few technical hurdles must be overcome before that can happen.

“To reach that flow level, the VRA is expected to confirm its readiness to take the higher flows. The absence of enough functioning generating units at the VRA enclave in Aboadze and compressor trippings on the offshore facility, FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, are two key issues Ghana Gas has been concerned about,” the statement mentioned.

“We are accordingly in discussions with VRA and Tullow Oil respectively to address these challenges,” GNGC assured Ghanaians, adding: “Indeed, since the commencement of commissioning on November 10, 2014, supply of raw gas from Tullow Oil has been sporadic. Most of the upstream flow curtailment incidents have resulted from unplanned outages or trips of the FPSO gas export compressor.

“The outage periods have ranged from 30 minutes to as long as 7 hours. These have gravely affected our commissioning schedule,” GNGC a=conceded.

It said: “We have, thus far, also produced from the Atuabo Plant, 3,000 tons of LPG, out of which 2,100 tons have been delivered to the market for use. The plant has also produced over 500 tons of condensate out of which about 300tons has been transported to the market. These levels would increase significantly as we near completion of the commissioning process and as we increase raw gas intake at the Atuabo plant.”

It, nonetheless noted that: “The Board is generally pleased with the overall commissioning processes and looks forward to a successful completion and commencement of full operations.”

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