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Ghana introduces load shedding, as gas pipeline is damaged

By Lawrence Quartey
Posted on Tuesday, 4 September 2012 16:13

The damage to the West African Gas Pipeline in Togo, caused by a ship anchor pipeline, in addition to shutting down one of the country’s thermal plants for routine maintenance, has created a shortfall of 300 megawatts of power production.

The West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCO) shut-down its pipelines following loss of pressure around the Lome segments in Togo as a result of the damage, caused by an unidentified vessel which came under fire from a Togolese naval ship.

WAOCO officials believe the unidentified ship, in its haste to escape from the pipeline protection zone, rammed into the pipeline, causing extensive damage.

The company has stopped all gas deliveries to its onshore stations and is working on rectifying the situation.

The Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) on Tuesday September 2012 began the nationwide load shedding, assuring that industries would be given top priority concession in order to ensure minimum impact on their operations.

Ghana needs gas supplies from the West Africa Gas Pipeline to feed the Volta River Authority (VRA) Takoradi Thermal Plant and the Sunon Asogli plant.

The Takoradi Thermal Power plant supplies 110 megawatts of power, while the gas-fired Asogli plant generates 200 megawatts.

William Hutton-Mensah, acting managing director of the Electricity Company of Ghana said the country, particularly Accra, would experience power cuts every other day during the peak periods to use energy-efficient appliances.

Maxwell Odoom, an official from VRA said WAPCO had assured that a team of engineers on a vessel from Gabon were expected to reach the damaged section of pipeline to start repair works on Tuesday.

Odoom, however, could not say exactly how long the repair would take to restore gas supply but indicated that in the absence of gas-fired power plants, machines that used Light Crude Oil (OLC) would be used.

The cost of running the crude oil-powered plants is estimated at $45 million a month.

Meanwhile, maintenance works on the Takoradi Thermal Plant is expected to be completed by the close of today September 4th.

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