‘VRA owes Ghana Gas over $500 million’

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The Volta River Authority (VRA) is indebted to the Ghana National Gas (Ghana Gas) Company Limited to the tune of more than $526 million in respect of the supply of lean gas for power generation.

The amount covers the supply of lean gas for the past two years since the company started its commercial operations.

Press soiree

The Director of Finance of Ghana Gas, Mr Emmanuel Essel, announced this last Friday at a press soiree in Accra.

The event was organised by the company to enable its new Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ben Asante, to outline his vision for the company.

It was also to create an opportunity for the top management of the company to interact with journalists and also educate them on the company’s operations, successes, challenges and the way forward.

Government bond

Describing the indebtedness as “terrible”, Mr Essel, said, “but there is hope because the government is working on a bond and has rolled out this amount under the bond. If my memory serves me correctly, the portion of Ghana Gas is about half a billion dollars, which is owed by VRA.”

He expressed the hope that if the bond was issued, the expectation was that Ghana Gas would get the money to enable it to improve on its finances.

“Apart from that, going forward, the Ministry of Energy has put in place a mechanism that is going to help all the energy sector players to be able to receive their portion of the fund, especially from what is collected by ECG such that those of us that supply the fuel will also get what is due us,” Mr Essel told the journalists.

Vision of chief executive

Outlining his vision, Dr Asante said his focus was on business development, personnel development and community engagement, explaining that those were the crucial pillars to move the company forward.

On business development, he said, “I want to make sure that we develop this business,” adding that he would focus more on operation and maintenance.

Dr Asante explained that human development was a strong pillar in his vision and, therefore, all the heads of departments had developed programmes for further training of all staff to equip them to take up their jobs anywhere they found themselves.

“For the community engagement, I want to tell them that at this juncture, we have to work together. We have to focus less on where we come from, and more on where we want to go together,” he asserted.

Dr Asante said the company currently produced 50 per cent of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) requirement of the country.

Local content

He said the mandate of the company was to make sure that it supplied gas for power generation and for the petrochemical industry, adding, “we want to ensure that power prices are reduced to make it bearable for Ghanaians.”

Referring to the local content policy, Dr Asante said within a short time since the company came on board, it had trained local engineers to handle critical installations in the company.

He announced that currently the Atuabo Plant was entirely manned by local engineers and commended the engineers, the Chinese counterparts, who trained them, as well as the previous administration for the successes chalked up so far.

Security

Answering questions from journalists, Dr Asante assured that the company took security as a critical component of the health, safety and security and environment protocol.

He said the company was aware of what was happening to other oil producing countries such as Nigeria and was putting in place measures to forestall some of those problems.

“We have gone ahead, starting with our gas processing plan to have personnel who are manning the facility 24/7,” he said, adding that even though the pipelines were buried about a metre deep, “when you have a determined person who want to do you harm, they could actually puncture it.”

He said the company was, therefore, installing three cameras, each of which could oversee 30 kilometres to cover the entire 100 kilometre pipeline stretch, “so that when there is any third party incursions on the right of way, we are alerted.”

Dr Asante said similar cameras were also installed off-shore to enable the company to ward off any traffic nearing the off-shore installation.

He further hinted that the company intended to install a leak system that would detect and alert the engineers of any leakage on any part of the pipeline.

Asked about whether the investment in oil and gas was worthwhile, Dr Asante said it was good for the government to attempt to diversify the economy.

“Besides, let us ask ourselves what the situation would have been if oil and gas had not come on stream to add to the revenue of the country,” he said.

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