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Atuabo Processing Plant resumes production

May 10, 2016, 3:26 p.m.

Jubilee Partners, operators of the country’s first, independent oilfields off the shores of Ghana, have begun exporting raw gas to the onshore gas-processing plant at Atuabo in the Ellembelle District in the Western Region. 

Currently, the processing plant at Atuabo, which is operated by the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas), has resumed work and is transmitting between 38 and 40 million standard cubic feet (mmscf) of gas on a daily basis to the Volta River Authority (VRA) at Shama for power generation. 

Besides that, the shortage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), one of the by-products of raw gas, which hit the Western, Central and Brong Ahafo regions as a 

result of the shutdown has been dealt with and supply to domestic users resumed. 

The investigations 

The shutdown followed investigations into the condition of the turret bearing on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, moored offshore, which confirmed that its bearing had been damaged, resulting in its operations being halted temporarily. 

The damage of the turret bearing hindered the rotation of the platform. As a result, oil production and gas export were halted. 

The situation also resulted in the shutdown of some thermal units at the VRA’s thermal power enclave at Shama, with the loss of 250 megawatts.

A source explained that even though what they supplied to the VRA was above 105 mmscf, they were currently providing below 50 per cent of that, as they collaborate with the technical team offshore and the operators for a permanent solution. 

“Currently, we are doing more than 40 mmscf. We also have enough pressure in our offshore pipeline and will ensure that whatever is pushed from Jubilee Fields is processed and supplied to VRA and domestic users accordingly,” it said. 

The shutdown 

After the detection of the problem on FPSO — Kwame Nkrumah, the platform had huge quantities of oil in its storage facility that had to be unloaded. 

As a result, the FPSO was placed on "heading control" through the use of tugs to minimise the vessel’s movement around the bearing for the unloading of the oil to pave the way for production. 

The operators came up with new procedures but to enable them implement them, they employed the use of dynamically positioned shuttle tankers with the capacity for 250,000 barrels of oil each. 

The successful implementation of these procedures has resulted in the resumption of production and export of gas to the shore for processing and transmission.