Aboadze (W/R) Nov.20, - GNA-Professor Mike Ocquaye, Minister of Energy, on Saturday said the proposed expansion of the Takoradi International Company (TICO), a private power company, would make it possible for the country to utilise gas to generate electricity at the Takoradi Thermal Plant.
He was speaking during a visit to the TICO at Aboadze near Takoradi. Professor Ocquaye said the government would, therefore, ensure that the expansion project is completed by 2008 to support theWest Africa Gas Pipeline Project.
He said the use of gas for power generation is relatively cost effective and efficient and would provide the energy necessary for industrialization.
Professor Ocquaye said the Takoradi Thermal Plant is presently using light crude oil to generate at an expensive cost and at the disadvantage of industrialisation.
He said the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) is not operating at full capacity because its operation requires substantial amount of energy.
Professor Ocquaye said the country's energy distribution would be thrown out of balance if Valco was supplied its full energy requirement. He said the company would be able to operate at optimum capacity when the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project begins operations.
He said four International Oil Companies have expressed interest in establishing refineries in Sekondi-Takoradi.
Professor Ocquaye said the companies establish their refineries that would also help ease the energy problem facing the country. He said the government would ensure reliable, efficient and cost-effective energy to support the country's industrial and commercial activities.
Professor Ocquaye used the occasion to disabuse the minds of the public that the operation of the Takoradi Thermal Plant would affect the proposed football stadium at Inchaban.
He said emissions from the Plant would not blow in the direction of the stadium and would not adversely affect it.
Mr. Clement Abavana, Technical Adviser to the Minister of Energy, said Osagyefo barge procured by the Ghana National Petroleum Company would become operational in two years time.
Mr. Clement Abavana, Technical Assistant to the Minister of Energy, said the Ministry of Energy has decided to lease the barge that is presently at its base at Effasu to a private company to generate electricity.
He said two companies that are competitively bidding for the lease have submitted their modalities and these are being assessed. Mr Abavana said the company that wins the bidding would decide whether to power the barge with indigenous gas, gas imported from Cote d'Ivoire or thermal electricity.
He said the private company would then sell the electricity generated by the barge to the government.
Mr Abavana said there are plans to procure another barge that would also be leased to a private investor at Effasu. Mr Abavana said power lines for transmission of electricity have already been constructed at Effasu.
Mr Marshall Pendergrass, General Manager of TICO, said, "Currently the company has two single cycle combustion turbines and generators of 110 megawatts installed capacity each".
He said, "In the very near future, TICO plans to expand its generating facilities to a 330 megawatts combined cycle facility with the addition of a 110 megawatts steam turbine and a generator with associated heat recovery steam generators".
"This would bring the total generating capacity of the Thermal Power Complex to the expected 660 megawatts", he said.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo and Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, Director of Power, Ministry of Energy accompanied Professor Ocquaye. Nov. 20 05