Karpowership to ease gas evacuation challenges in Western region

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The country’s inability to fully utilise the indigenous natural gas from the Sankofa fields has resulted in a monthly forfeiture of what the government says is some $28million to ENI.

This bottleneck, however, would be significantly resolved when Karpowership relocates its 470MW Powership to Takoradi within the second quarter of the year.

Currently stationed at the Tema Fishing Harbour, the 470MW Karadeniz Powership, Osman Khan, can take up to 50percent of the natural gas that ENI Ghana is contracted to produce, Managing Director of Karpowership Ghana Company Limited, Volkan Buyukbicer told the Bft.

The ‘take or pay’ Gas Sale Agreement the country has entered into with ENI and the other partners in the Sankofa project means that the country, being the off-taker, has to pay for some 140 million standard cubic feet per day of gas not only when it utilises it but also when it is unable to, through no fault of the supplier – ENI.

“The take or pay Gas purchase agreement would have cost us US$40 million per month if we failed to take the entire 140 mmscfd. However, we have been taking 60mmscfd in Takoradi for power generation, which has reduced the amount of gas un-utilised to 80mmscfd. Thus, about $28 million is being paid for gas currently not utilised,” the Energy Ministry explained in January, in response to reports that the country was losing US$40million monthly.

It has also been said that relocating the Powership to Takoradi would also save the country from paying millions of dollars as a result of the high transportation cost of WAPCo to convey natural gas from the western region to the Tema Power enclave.

The dual fuel Karpowership floating Powership has been operating on Heavy Fuel Oil so far, and according to Volkan Buyukbicer, its switch to the use of gas, which is much cheaper, would save the country more than $240million on an annual basis.

Besides, running the Powership on gas will result in additional savings to the power off-taker – ECG – and help drive down tariffs for consumers, he added.

The pressure on government to make ready infrastructure to fully evacuate the Sankofa gas is not lost on Karpowership, Mr Buyukbicer said, pledging that his company is fervently preparing their Project site at the Sekondi Naval Base for the transfer of the Powership there, even as government is doing its part towards gas delivery.

“We feel the pressure and we are working very fast to move the Powership there and to off-take the gas concurrently,” he said.

Karadeniz Powership Osman Khan is the largest floating Power Plant in the world and one of 19 Powerships built, owned and operated by the Karadeniz Holding, the parent company of Karpowership Ghana Company Limited.

Karpowership has a power purchase agreement with ECG to generate up to 450MW of electricity for ten years. But its long-term plan is to use Ghana as a “hub” to serve other countries in the West Africa sub-region.

Since it entered Ghana’s energy market in 2015, Karpowership has contributed between 23 and 25percent to power generation in the country, and according to Volkan Buyukbicer, the company sees Ghana “as a long-term partnership.”

In keeping with this long-term outlook, Mr Buyukbicer said the company believes in human capital development, which is why it has chosen to support, on a continuing basis, the education of basic school pupils in various parts of Tema with bursaries and teaching and learning aids.

The company, he added, is very mindful of the country’s localisation agenda and is leaving no stone unturned to fulfil its obligations in that regard.

As such, he said, out-sourcing jobs to local businesses and suppliers where the capacity is available is something that has been doing since its inception,

Asked to comment on the energy market and its capacity to deliver reliable and affordable any to Ghanaians, Mr Buyukbicer underscored the importance of long-term planning which is aligned to the overall industrial development agenda of the country.

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