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VRA expects gas supply to normalise within three weeks

Accra, Feb. 23, GNA - The Volta River Authority (VRA) on Thursday said it expected gas supply from Nigeria to normalise within the next three weeks to ensure continuous supply of power to the country.
      Mr Kweku Awotwi, Chief Executive Officer of VRA, told journalists in Accra that the erratic supply of gas from Nigeria since the beginning of the year meant that the company was unable to meet its generation capacity to satisfy the increasing demand for electricity.
     He said while firm agreements had been reached for supply of between 80 and 123 million standard cubic feet of gas per day from January to May this year, supply had only reached about 40 million and sometimes less.
     “This has imposed a lot of restriction on VRA’s operation, especially on the capacity of the thermal plants such as Asogli and cutting off critical supply,” he said.
     Mr Awotwi said VRA in the circumstances had to switch to the use of crude oil, which is also affecting the plants and this coupled with the planned maintenance at Takoradi International Company meant that more than 300 megawatts of supply could be off at certain periods.     
     “The reduction in the flow of gas from Nigeria and the consequent inability of the thermal plants to operate at optimum meant that the VRA is unable to meet the generation demand at certain periods,” he said.
     In an earlier statement, the VRA warned that there would be a reduction in power supply by 100 megawatts during the peak periods from 6.00 p.m. (1800 hours) to 10.00 p.m (2200 hours).
     “VRA has therefore requested the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to undertake a load management exercise in various parts of the country, until the situation returns to normalcy,” the statement said.
     Mr Awotwi said VRA was in discussions with the suppliers of gas to increase supply, adding however that the long-term solution was for Ghana to develop and tap her own gas.
     This, he said, was important because of the increasing needs of the Nigerian Government to improve power supply in the country.
     The Ghana National Gas Company, which has the responsibility to build the gas infrastructure, has confirmed a start up of gas supply volume of about 90,000 million standard cubic feet per day by 2013.
     Mr Kofi Ellis, Director of Business Development Services, said demand for electricity had been growing steadily, reaching about 10 per cent annually in recent years.
     He said to meet the demand VRA must add 212 megawatts every year to the current generating capacity of 2,120 mega watts.
     Mr Ellis said VRA was working to meet this demand by bringing on board between now and 2015 an additional 960 megawatts generation capacity to augment the existing capacity.
     There are also plans to install up to 150 megawatts of wind and solar projects in the next 36 months.

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