Ghana’s four-year-old Gas Master Plan has been dragged into the national conversation around whether the country’s Gas Company should be subsumed into the flagship state hydrocarbon company, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), as a subsidiary.
“The infrastructure plan is obsolete and needs revision”, submits Ernest Owusu Bempah, a public policy analyst, “and none of the supply and demand data in the plan are applicable.”
Mr. Bempah was responding to a presentation by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), a policy think tank that is highly revered in the West African country. ACEP had, in that presentation, revisited the lingering debate over whether the Ghana Gas Company should be, like in the Nigerian model, a subsidiary of GNPC or, like in the Egyptian model, be an entity by itself.
But it is the submission that Bempah makes about the Master Plan that the Africa Oil+Gas Report considers most crucial. Part of his summary:
• Gas Master Plans (GMPs) are meant to address two issues: Design Optimization and Operational Optimization.
• The current Gas Master Plan addresses only the former. Ghana Gas Team and their counterparts from Trinidad and Tobago have addressed the latter. Furthermore, a GMP is also a working document, which requires regular update. None of the supply and demand data in the GMP are applicable.
• The infrastructure plan is also obsolete, and needs revision. However, some of the recommendations and procedures are still worth considering. It will also require an expanded scope to include operational optimization
• Ghana Gas’ core business has three key components – Daily operations, which takes about 80% of the life-cycle time, periodic Maintenance which takes about 10% of the time and occasional expansion which takes the remaining 10% of the life cycle time.
• So, Ghana Gas’ key job description is to deliver gas for power generation for Ghanaians, through reliable and uninterrupted operations. Not necessarily expansion projects.
• Ghana’s Gas industry still riddled with legacy that; and Ghana Gas is owed the most by sister agencies. This is a very unusual circumstance by any standard. ACEP should be providing ideas to address this recurring legacy problem in the sector, instead of espousing short sighted band-aid solutions.
• It is important not to base lasting policy decisions, including Institutional Arrangements, just on ability to Finance new facilities or expansion of existing ones or someone’s Balance Sheet as suggested by ACEP.
• The 4 year-old GMP is hardly fit for purpose and requires an update and therefore cannot be used as bases for recommendation by ACEP.