A cross-section of Journalists are mounting pressure on Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC,) headed by Dr. Sipa Yankey, to complete the much awaited gas infrastructure pipeline project in Atuabo in the Western region or face their wrath.
According to the visibly angry journalists, since the beginning of the project in 2005, government and management of GNGC have constantly been lying to the Ghanaian public on the deadline to the completion of the project.
The journalists expressed their dissatisfaction at the company and government at a Consultative Workshop of Domestic Natural Gas Process and Pricing organised by the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC).
Journalists including Kwame Sefa Kayi of Peace FM, Adakabre Frimpong Manso of Neat FM, Israel Laryea of Joy FM, and Araba Koomson of Joy News vented their spleen on the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company, Dr. Goerge Sipa Yankey, stressing they are fed up with his numerous deadlines for the project completion.
“Why is Dr.Yankey always attributing the delay of the completion of the project to technical challenges although government has released all the necessary funds for the project,” they said.
According to the journalists, their anger was necessitated by an announcement by Mr. Andrew Adu of the Company’s Commercial Department that the project and the offshore pipeline project are about 99% complete awaiting commissioning by June this year.
They also noted that the people of Ghana are tired of the daily confusion they are plunged into by government and the company and that the time has come for Dr. Sipa Yankey to open up to the people of Ghana about the right period for the completion of the project.
Although they expected the CEO of the company to be present at the workshop to answer and clear the numerous doubts being created in the minds of the people, Dr. Sipa Yankey, according to the journalists, escaped.
Meanwhile, sources at the Ghana Gas Company have told Today that the over $850 million world class gas infrastructure, which is only second to the Akosombo Dam in terms of magnitude, investments and expected returns, aside from the GH˘20 million seed money provided GNGC by late Mills administration in 2011 and an additional GH˘20 million last year, an outstanding GH˘38 million being part of the company’s start-up capital is yet to hit the accounts of the state firm undertaking the project.
Though another GH˘10 million is said to have been approved by the finance ministry few weeks ago, the Controller and Accountant General is yet to release the amount to GNGC.
A source close to managers of the project say, the intervals at which monies for the project is been released is greatly affecting the company.
Gloomily, the agreement covering the project signed between GNGC and SINOPEC, the Chinese Company undertaking the project, is still without parliamentary approval.
Therefore going by a recent ruling by the Supreme Court in the Waterville and Martin Amidu case, there is no legal framework for the project.
Other sources at GNGC say with the said GH˘10 million yet to hit the company’s accounts, all the finances supplied them by government have dried up, a situation that is said to have ‘knocked’ the pioneering gas infrastructure company into a situation where payment of staff salaries and overhead expenditures have become problematic.
Aside from the delay in the disbursement of the $3 billion China Development Bank (CDB) loan and the loss of a container with vital components for liquefied petroleum gas storage tank off the coast of South Africa, which has severely affected the December expected completion date of the project, our sources revealed that managerial and structural defects have also given rise to a situation where there is lack of harmony among the executives of GNGC.
The lack of a proper organisational structure, according to our sources, has given room for power-play among the executives as they seem to be criss-crossing each other’s functions.
And this is creating serious disquiet in the managerial setup of the company, which is utterly threatening the final completion of the project which Dr. Sipa Yankey says is about 72 per cent complete.
But, a senior management member, who wants to remain anonymous, discounted the wrangling allegation, explaining that “when the company was started, it was proposed that we get two deputy chief executives.
This, the senior management executive noted, was shot down on the account that the company was an infant one, “but we were made to know we could do that as the company grows.”
The source however admitted that the company was facing financial difficulties with the way the proposed seed capital for the company was being released.
Due to the inability to complete the project on the scheduled date which has now been shifted to the end of the first quarter of 2014, the nation is reported to have already lost an estimated $340 million in revenue.
According to its CEO, GNGC would incur revenue loss of $135 million for the sale of lean gas to Volta River Authority (VRA) and an additional revenue loss of $70 million from the production and sale of LPG.
Though the company and by extension the project is reeling in difficulties, individual managers are said to have successfully conquered turfs and are milking the company through the award of contracts, employment opportunities and in some extreme cases, pure sabotage; a source told this paper.
The Gas Infrastructure Project, which is the largest project the NDC government has embarked on in the past five years, involves receiving gas from the oil and gas fields in the Tano (Western) Basin and processing it into lean gas, propane, butane and condensate.
The overall goal of the project is to “ensure that natural gas, associated gas and NGLs produced in Ghana are effectively and efficiently processed into clean fuels and feedstock for domestic, and export market; promote the development of petro-chemical industries; substantially reduce and/or eliminate flaring of gas; and develop Western region of Ghana as a new economic growth pole for the country in the long-term.
The initial gas to be processed will come from the Jubilee field which is located approximately 50 km offshore Ghana, in the Western region.”
In his recent interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA,) Dr. George Sipa-Adja Yankey acknowledged the importance of the gas infrastructure project to the development aspirations of the country because it would half the $3million dollars a day VRA spends in purchasing crude oil for power generation.
He said the gas processing plant was expected to receive 140 million Standard Cubic Feet of raw gas per day from the Jubilee Oilfield.
The plant would then separate raw gas into various components as well as other mineral residues like propane, bitumen etc.
The lean gas, according to the CEO, would then be transmitted through pipelines to the Aboadze metering station for power generation.
Dr. Yankey said so far, both the onshore and offshore pipelines from the Jubilee Oilfield to Atuabo through to Aboadze Thermal Plant had been laid.
Two LPG storage tanks that would store 4,000 meter cube of gas were also nearing completion.
However, according to our source at the facility, “government’s immediate intervention in the GNGC saga at this crucial moment of the NDC’s flagship project is very crucial if the dream project is to come alive”.
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