After four years of preparatory and construction work on the onshore gas processing plant, Ghana officially joined the comity of gas processing countries yesterday when President John Dramani Mahama inaugurated the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant operated by the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas).
The project, which the President described as the game changer for the national economy, is the first national effort at monetising the country’s domestic associated natural gas from the Jubilee Fields.
The $1-billion government of Ghana project was started in July 2011, together with a natural gas export station to be constructed at Domuli in the Jomoro District in the Western Region, collectively referred to as the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project.
Scope of work
The scope of work included the design and construction of a 45-kilometre shallow water extension of a pipeline from the production platform, the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, to the onshore processing plant at Atuabo.
It also included the construction of 111-kilometre transmission pipelines from Atuabo to the Aboadze Power Enclave in the Shama District, as well as the construction of a metering station at Esiama and another line to the northern part of the region.
Fully aware of the importance of energy sufficiency to the transformation of the national economy, the business module of Ghana Gas is to mitigate or eliminate the current energy deficit by contributing 500 megawatts (MW) to the national energy mix.
Additionally, the Atuabo plant is positioned to process more than 180,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for domestic use, representing about 70 per cent of the national requirement of 240,000 tonnes; the delivery of 46,000 tonnes of condensate and about 15,000 tonnes of isopethain which will help reduce pressure on the national currency by reducing the import of these products now available through Ghana Gas.
Ten companies, led by the Sinopec Inc. of China, took part in the project, which spans eight major districts in the region – Ellembelle, Jomoro, Nzema East, Ahanta West, Mpohor, Tarkwa Nsuaem, Prestea Huni-Valley and Sekondi/Takoradi.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, President Mahama said the gas project was going to push the country’s development to greater heights.
The project, he said, would help stabilise the micro-economy and save the country the trouble of using hard currency to import light crude oil (LCO) to power the thermal generating units.
The President took a serious view of attempts by some Minority Members of Parliament to frustrate the free port project.
When it came into operation, the project, he said, would not only benefit the country but also position Ghana as the majority shareholder of 45 per cent and the rest shared among the other investors.
The President assured the chiefs and the people of the Western Region that the Free Port was a reality and would come into being, in addition to other industries.
The Chief Executive of Ghana Gas, Dr George Adja-Sipa Yankey, said the project was an insightful appreciation of the journey that was set out in 2011.
“As we speak today, we have achieved what was thought to be unachievable, as we have successfully completed phase one of the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project by constructing a three-tier project that includes the 12-inch diameter 58-kilometre pipeline from offshore to the processing plant,” he said.
He said Ghana Gas was making a significant contribution to the development of the country’s economy and easing the pressure on the cedi, adding that the company was already leading the industrialisation drive by delivering lean gas, condensate, LPG, among others, for other uses.
The Board Chairman of Ghana Gas, Dr Kwesi Botchwey, said the project and its allied facilities were testament of what prudent investment could bring to a determined nation such as Ghana.
The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Sun Baohong, said the project gave further significant importance to China and Ghana relations.