The country’s inability to fully utilise natural gas from the Sankofa fields has resulted in the monthly forfeiture of what government says is some US$28million to ENI.
This bottleneck will however be significantly resolved, as Karpowership Ghana Limited has said it is preparing to relocate its 470MW Powership to Takoradi within the second quarter of the year.
Currently stationed at the Tema Fishing Harbour, the 470MW powership, Osman Khan, can take up to 50 percent of the gas ENI Ghana is contracted to produce, Managing Director of Karpowership Ghana Company Limited, Volkan Buyukbicer, told the B&FT.
The ‘take or pay’ agreement the country has entered into with ENI and the other partners in the Sankofa project means that, being the off-taker, it has to pay for some 140million cubic feet of gas per day; not only when it uses 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$40million 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 US$28million is being paid for gas currently not utilised,” the Energy Ministry explained in January, responding to reports that the country was losing US$40million monthly.
The dual-fuel Karpowership has been running on Heavy Fuel Oil so far, and according to Volkan Buyukbicer its switch to the use of gas, which is much cheaper, will save the country more than US$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 Karpower, Mr. Buyukbicer said – pledging that his company is fervently preparing the project site at the Sekondi Naval Base to transfer the powership there, even as government is doing its part toward 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 Energy Holding, parent company of Karpowership Ghana Company Limited.
Karpower has a power purchase agreement with the 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, Karpowerhip has contributed between 23 and 25 percent to power generation in the country, and according to Volkan Buyukbicer, the company sees Ghana “as a long-term partner”.
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 hundreds 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 locals where capacity is available is something the company been doing since it started operations in the country.
Asked to comment on the energy market and its capacity to deliver reliable and affordable power to Ghanaians, Mr. Buyukbicer underscored the importance of long-term planning that is aligned to the country’s overall industrial development agenda.