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17.11.2005 Regional News

Effasu Barge not yet operational-Minister

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Accra, Nov. 17, GNA - Professor Michael Oquaye, Energy Minister, on Thursday said installation works required to make the Osagyefo Barge at Effasu in the Western Region operational had not been completed. He said due to the Barge not being in operation after completion, minor works needed to be undertaken.

"There are some sub-station inter-connection and overhead transmission line works to be done," the Minister told Parliament in an answer to a question from Mr. Lee Ocran, NDC - Jomoro, as to what measures were being taken to enable the Barge commence operations after installation works had been completed.

On fuel to be used for the Barge, the Energy Minister, said the Ministry was studying various options including a short-term usage of diesel for peak loading for five hours a day.

However, he said at the current cost of diesel, "The daily fuel bill is 970,000,500.00 cedis. Operation of the Barge could start two to four months from the day a decision is taken." Prof. Oquaye said another option for the supply of fuel to the Barge was to use the Tano gas but this would depend on a reliable investor with the requisite technical acumen and financial muscle to make the Tano gas operational.

"Currently, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation is having negotiations with a few prospective companies. It is estimated that gas from Tano Fields could hit the Barge in a maximum timeframe of 30 months, considering the search for rigs on the market," He added. Prof. Oquaye said extension of the West African Pipeline from Aboadze to Effasu to make use of gas from Nigeria was another option.

"Assuming that a decision is taken in January, next year, gas could hit the Barge in 15 to 18 months. This will require extensive negotiations with the West African Gas Pipeline Company." The Energy Minister said the last option for the supply of fuel to the Barge, was the construction of pipeline and procurement of gas from Cote d' Ivoire to Effasu to power the Barge.

He said the Ministry in October, this year advertised for the provision of fuel and the running of the Barge and seven companies had expressed interest and their proposals were currently being reviewed.