Electricity consumers may heave a sigh of relief in April this year if the latest assurance from the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCO), to start transporting natural gas to the Aboadze Thermal Plant is anything to go by.
WAPCo, the operator of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) system shut down the pipeline system after experiencing a loss of pressure around the Lome segment of the pipeline in October last year. The company has now set a tentative date of April 30 to resume the transportation of natural gas.
This came to light during a media interaction at Aboadze on Tuesday. WAPCo had initially stated that it was going to fix the damaged pipeline by November last year, information which was further disseminated by President John Dramani Mahama in the heat of the load-shedding.
General Manager in charge of Corporate Affairs at the West African Gas Pipeline Company, Harriet Wereko Brobbey explained that they were hopeful to conclude the repair of the damaged pipe by the November date; but had to suspend work following an incident in Takoradi which killed two of its engineers on duty. Her explanation thus exonerates the President who had been criticized for misleading the public and accused of playing politics with the situation as the country headed for the 2012 General elections.
The cost of running thermal plants for energy generation since October last year with crude has resulted in the ongoing power rationing. Harriet Wereko Brobbey said the damaged pipe has been replaced and a test carried out to avoid leakages in the pipes. She said a few more phases are yet to be carried out for gas transportation to resume by April 30.
“We have replaced the damaged segments; we have tested the joins and made sure that there are no leakages. Now the next thing that we have to do is to clean the pipeline to make sure that there is no water and debris. And after we clear that out then we will dry the pipe and once it is dry enough we will be able to flow gas. We are expecting that all things being equal if everything goes well then April 30 is the date when we will be ready to resume the transportation of gas. We will just announce to our shipper that the pipeline is ready so push the gas through” she noted.
She added that efforts are being made to protect and safeguard the pipeline to avoid future damages along the coasts of the four countries.
“We have actively engaged the naval forces of the four countries namely Togo, Nigeria, Benin and Ghana and they have agreed to help us to protect the pipelines so they are doing their normal patrols. In addition to that, we have an agreement with the navy of Benin and they are now patrolling regularly with a focus on our pipeline to make sure that it is secured. We are in process of having the same kind of agreement with the Navies of Ghana and Togo and we are hoping that there will be a greater focus just on protecting the pipelines against incidences such as third party breaches”.
The West African Gas Pipeline Company limited (WAPCo) is a limited liability company that owns and operates the West African Gas Pipeline from Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana.