Contrary to the erroneous impression by a cross-section of the public that the Ghana Gas Company Limited and the Volta River Authority (VRA) are the cause of the frequent power outages in Kumasi and its environs, investigations have proven otherwise.
Instead, it is a GRIDCO transmission line that got damaged in the Western Region by a fallen Globacom mast.
Ghana Gas Company and the VRA have had their own challenges in recent times, a situation which temporarily, affected their operations.
For instance, on the evening of November 6, 2021, at about 6 O’clock, the main plant operator on the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant (GPP) noticed a gas leak from the flange of the Gas-Gas Heat Exchanger facing the pipe racks.
A Central Control Room (CCR) Engineer was immediately informed about this challenge by a Plant Operator. Investigations revealed that just after the Operator informed the CCR Engineer, the gasket of the flange failed, leading to excessive gas leakage, with the Heat Exchanger operated recording 86.5 bang.
All the gas detectors around the Process Area detected the gas to be 101% Lower Explosive Limit (LEL). This demanded an emergency shutdown.
GPP fire hydrant system and the fire tender were engaged to suppress the concentration of the gas leak in the plant.
Investigations further revealed that the situation was brought under control in about two hours’ time, with authorities of the facility, directing for the Gas Processing Plant (GPP) Heat Exchangers to be tested and pressurized per the standard industry practice.
In the process, a leak was noticed on another Heat Exchanger on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, with the situation calling for an Incident Investigation Team to be set up to probe the matter and present their findings and recommendations to management.
Inside sources say, the Team completed its work on November 23, 2021, having identified Gasket failure, misalignment/dislocation of the gasket of the GPP Gas-Gas Heat Exchanger and uneven bolt stress to be the main cause of the gas leakage.
Investigations further revealed that before the planned outage on October 4, 2021, total gas supply and demand balance ranged from 210-250 MMscfd from domestic sources. Gas supply from Sankofa ranged from 140-150 MMscfd while supply from Jubilee/Ten (lean gas) ranged from 70-100 MMscfd.
The gas leak at the GPP, therefore, did not have any significant impact on the country’s gas delivery, as Eni Ghana (Sankofa) was able to provide a maximum of 210-215 MMscfd during the two outage periods.
Company officials say following the events recorded on Saturday, November 6, 2021, and Tuesday, November 9, 2021, management of Ghana Gas Company replaced all eight gaskets of all GPP Heat Exchangers and also procured the services of a contractor to inspect, clean and reassemble all GPP Heat Exchangers.
Within the time frame of the initial shutdown, the VRA was also conducting maintenance activities on its facilities at the Aboaze Thermal Enclave. These activities commenced on October 30, 2021, and ended on Thursday, November 11, 2021.
This means that following the startup of its facilities at the Aboaze Thermal Enclave, the VRA had to shut down its operations on Saturday, November 20, 2021, due to a gas leak within its fence. This happened a day after the Ghana Gas Company was back on-stream.
This means that the Ghana Gas Company was ready to supply gas to the VRA to power its plants at the Aboaze enclave on November 19, 2021.
The Maintenance Manager, Ghana Gas Company, Richmond Alamu, when contacted, confirmed the numerous measures management undertook to get the company back in track.
However, he said, despite all their efforts, as of November 30, 2021, when Ghana Gas Company was still waiting to supply gas to the VRA, operations at the VRA Aboaze Thermal Enclave had not commenced.
The VRA on Friday, December 3, 2021, announced that it has successfully completed maintenance works on its leaked gas network in the Aboaze enclave in the Western Region which, had hitherto, been a hindrance in connecting some communities in the country with electricity.
However, Kumasi and its environs are still plunged into darkness as works on the damaged GRIDCO transmission line continue.
GRIDCO, our sources say, will soon communicate to the public when it would conclude its work, after assessing the extent of damage caused its transmission line in the Western Region.