Barring any last-minute hitch, the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant will receive its first natural gas next week to carry out its final testing and pave way for commercial production.
This is because the final process of Tie-in of the Ghana National Gas Company’s (Ghana Gas) 58-kilometre Offshore Pipeline to that of the 2-kilometre flexible riser of the Jubilee partners, led by Tullow, began yesterday and is expected to take between five and seven days to complete.
The Tie-in process began sometime last week and several activities, including flushing water out of the pipelines, known as dewatering, have been completed successfully.
The Finder understands that all testing have been completed, except the part of the gas processing plant that handles the processing of natural gas into various gas products.
Once the Tie-in is completed and Tullow and partners open the valves of the wellheads, natural gas will flow to the processing plant to carry out the last testing to ensure that the plant works according to design, specification and construction.
Communications Manager of Ghana Gas, Mr Alfred Ogbamey explained that once the final testing proves successful, commercial processing of natural gas would kick- start.
He was hopeful that, all things being equal, gas processing would commence by the end of November to end the limited flaring being carried out by the Jubilee partners.
According to him, the 12-inch 58- kilometre Offshore Pipeline from the gas processing plant, as well as the 111-kilometre Onshore Pipeline have both been tested successfully.
He explained that it could take four months for the plant to operate at full capacity to process above 120 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.
This is because intake of raw gas from Jubilee field would be done in a gradual process, starting from 30 million standard cubic feet of gas per day for the first month, 60 million standard cubic feet of gas per day for the second month, 90 million standard cubic feet of gas per day for the third month, and finally 120 million standard cubic feet of gas per day for the fourth month.
Mr Ogbamey explained that the processing plant can process all the 150 million standard cubic feet of gas per day capacity of the Jubilee field partners.
Processing of the natural gas would lead to four main gas products being churned out of the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant; namely lean or dry gas, which will be pumped directly to Volta River Authority’s (VRA) Aboadze thermal plant for power generation, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for domestic use, as well as condensates and pentanes for the energy market.
In terms of energy to be produced, he said 30 million standard cubic feet of gas per day would generate about 120 megawatts of power.
Consequently, 120 million standard cubic feet of lean gas per day would generate 480 megawatts of power a day.
Currently, VRA generates 75% of the power consumed in the country and 56% of that generation comes from non-hydro sources at a cost of $3 million a day.
Ghana Gas is expected to save the nation over $500 million a year from importing light crude to power thermal plants because gas costs barely half the price of light crude oil.
Mr Ogbamey noted that Ghana Gas would also produce 180,000 tonnes of LPG a year, which represents 75% of Ghana’s 240,000 tonnes of LPG consumed annually.
“Besides the $500 million savings in cost of generation to the VRA and the country, there is an additional $500 million savings in forex that would have otherwise gone out of the country for the importation of the reduced light crude. That money would be paid to a Ghanaian company, retaining the amount in the economy, leading to a billion-dollar savings for Ghana on lean gas alone,” Mr Ogbamey noted.
Further savings would be made by Ghana as well on the millions of dollars spent on the importation of LPG into the country annually, he noted.