The VRA has said that it will be able to receive and utilize the full volume of gas produced from the Jubilee Field when TICO thermal plants in Takoradi become operational by close of the year.
The operation of TICO, which is also expected to run solely on gas from the Jubilee Field, will add about 340 megawatts of power to the national grid and help to ease the current energy supply challenges.
Gas supplied by the Ghana Gas Company — an entity whose merger with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) — has been endorsed with approval from the 2015 budget that proposed the merger.
The coming on-stream of the country’s gas could mean a 20 percent reduction in fuel costs to the power industry, or savings of $2billion over a 10-year period. For the industry as a whole, this is enough to fund one 400MW power plant every other year.
Again, it will reduce the cost of maintenance for thermal plants by some 50 percent, according to the VRA and increase the availability of thermal plants.
Aside from Jubilee, the country is expecting gas from other fields like Sankofa and the TEN project area.
In the short- to medium- term, however, local gas supply will still not meet the demand even if all these projects come on board – hence the reliance on Nigeria for gas via the West African Gas Pipeline to augment local production.
Producers expect a peak supply of about 80million standard cubic feet of gas from Nigeria and about 120 million standard cubic feet of gas from Jubilee Field in Ghana, bringing the total supply to about 200million standard cubic feet of gas per day.
However, Ghana’s domestic gas requirement for power generation is estimated at 350million standard cubic feet per day. This will leave a deficit in gas-supply of about 150million standard cubic feet.
The VRA has therefore signed agreements for additional gas supply with other producers outside the NGas – current supplier of the commodity from Nigeria – for supply of the commodity via the West African Gas Pipeline.
Meanwhile, the Energy Ministry is exploring ways of creating a reverse flow system so that when gas produced is beyond the capacity of thermal plants sited in Aboadze, it can be channelled to power other thermal plants sited in Tema.
The new VRA Kpone thermal plant, which is under construction, the 200MW gas- reliant Sunon Asogli thermal plant and the CENIT plant are all sited in Tema.
Meanwhile, the country is said to have almost exhausted its hydropower potential with Bui coming on stream; this means a shift toward thermal power, which requires either crude oil or gas.