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Dumsor resurrects -1,000MW shortfall forces fresh challenge

April 11, 2016, 9:10 a.m.

The country’s recovery from a debilitating power challenge, popularly called ‘Dumsor’, that spanned about three years, has suffered a jolt as the phenomenon has resurrected.

The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) estimated that ‘dumsor’ costs the economy $2.2 million daily.

The return of the debilitating power challenge has been attributed to a lack of lean gas to power thermal power plants as a result of problems with Floating Production Storage Offloading Vessel (FPSO Kwame Nkrumah), as well as the supply of only 10% of total gas expected from Nigeria.

The lack of lean gas led to the shutdown of thermal power plants that run only on gas, resulting in a 1,000MW shortfall in electricity generation, and in the process brought back load shedding, which ended in December 2015 after three years of rolling power cuts.

The load shedding is expected to worsen this week as operators need to rest some dual-fired thermal plants which use both crude oil and lean gas but have been running on crude oil for some time now.

Resting the plants is important because thermal power plants are gas plants and, therefore, using light crude oil to run them results in frequent maintenance since the crude oil is too heavy for the thermal plants, which work better when run on lean gas.


Tema Power Enclave

The 200-megawatt Sunon Asogli Power Plant and the 50MW Tema Thermal Plant 2 (T2) in the Tema power enclave run only on gas, and the lack of gas means they have become redundant.

Takoradi Power Enclave

Africa and Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) power plant of 230MW in the Takoradi power enclave also runs only on gas, and the shutdown of the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah has forced the shutdown of the plant.

The Takoradi Power Company (TAPCO), with 300MW, developed a fault when it was being converted from gas to crude oil, and has since not been resolved.

FPSO Kwame Nkrumah problems

On March 2016, Tullow Oil, the lead operator of Jubilee field, shut down FPSO Kwame Nkrumah for planned maintenance.

Even before the planned shutdown, a turret bearing problem of the FPSO forced Tullow to reduce daily average production from 100,000 barrels to a little over 30,000 barrels from March 9, 2016 till the FPSO was shutdown on March 20, 2016.

Tullow claimed to have successfully completed the planned shutdown scope of works on the FPSO and announced restart of production last Saturday.

But on Friday, Tullow said that due to the execution of some critical works required to enable commencement of gas export, it has revised/extended its scheduled maintenance period from April 8, 2016 to April 22, 2016. 

Gas is expected to thus flow from the FPSO effective Saturday, April 23, 2016, contrary to the announced April 9, 2016 date.

Africa-focused oil producer, Tullow Oil said on Friday it would have to lower its production outlook due to a technical fault that has forced a longer-than-planned shutdown at its Jubilee oilfield, off Ghana.

A damaged turret bearing means a scheduled maintenance shutdown will take another two weeks and production flows will take even more time to ramp-up, Tullow said.

According to Tullow, technical investigation of the condition of the turret bearing on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah has confirmed that the bearing has been damaged and is no longer able to rotate as originally designed. 

It noted that oil production and gas export can continue but under revised operating and off-take procedures. 

The company said a root-cause analysis is ongoing and a project team is assessing which long-term remediation option is most appropriate. 

Initial feasibility studies by the team have confirmed that the bearing issue can be fully resolved, Tullow added. 

New operating procedures 

“The FPSO Kwame Nkrumah has now been placed on 'heading control' through the use of tugs which minimise vessel movement around the bearing.

“New operating procedures, including the use of a dynamically-positioned shuttle tanker (capacity of 250,000 barrels of oil) and a storage tanker (capacity of 1 million barrels of oil), are being implemented to assure safe production and off-take operations,” said a statement by Tullow.

“Although all necessary equipment for the new operating procedures, including the two tankers, are in place, it is important that additional time and due care is taken to implement new procedures and receive required approvals. 

“Safety and protecting the environment remain Tullow’s key priorities. Tullow currently estimates that production from the FPSO will re-start in approximately two weeks time and will also take time to ramp-up. 

“Tullow’s production guidance will be re-issued once the new operating arrangements have stabilised.” 

Comprehensive package of insurance 

“Tullow has a comprehensive package of insurances in place, including Hull and Machinery insurance, procured on behalf of the Joint Venture, which covers relevant operating and capital costs associated with damage to the FPSO, and Business Interruption insurance which covers consequent loss of production and revenue. Claims under both policies have been notified to our insurers,” the statement added.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this news report do not necessarily reflect the position of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC)