Tension is mounting at Kpone, between Sunon Asogli Power Limited and Chase Petroleum over the latter's refusal to allow the former to tie-in to the 36-inch Single Point Mooring (SPM) crude oil pipeline to feed its generation plant.
As a result of the business 'war', Sunon Asogli Power is incapacitated to generate power to the national grid at a time energy is badly needed to drive the industrial revolution President Akufo-Addo's government is pursuing.
The plant, which has been expanded to its full capacity of producing 560 megawatts since March, this year, remains shut due to the non-availability of natural gas and light crude to operate it.
Information obtained by The Chronicle from the Kpone power enclave indicates that the ensuing conflict is also threatening life and property in the area, as Sunon Asogli, in an interim measure, has resorted to taking delivery of light crude into its storage tanks by means of bulk road vehicles, a situation that has drawn a thin line between safety and disaster.
Investigations by The Chronicle revealed that on January 17, this year, Sunon Asogli wrote a letter, signed by the Chairman, Mr Li Xiaohai, to the General Manager (Technical Services) of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
The said letter reads: "We refer to the above works, which have been approved, and herewith submit our construction drawings and the 36-inch valve we are required to install at SPM pipeline for your kind approval.
"We have also attached the schedule for the works. We would appreciate the earliest approval of these documents to enable us to commence the work as soon as possible."
TOR, on the 25th of January, 2017, responded with the approval letter, signed by the Acting Project Manager, W.A. Anum, headlined, 'Re: Tie In of 24-inch Light Crude Oil (LCO) pipeline to 36-inch SPM crude oil pipeline through the 24-inch Adenkra pipeline at GAO Valve Station'.
It also reads: We refer to your letter dated 17th January 2017, and wish to inform you that the construction drawing of the 24-inch LCO pipeline, and the 36-inch valve with the specification provided, have been approved for construction and installation respectively. Further to this approval, you agree to carry out the following:
(1) Sunon Asogli supply and install a 36-inch gear operated gate valve on the 36-inch SPM pipeline towards the north at the valve station, per the specification provided API 60D and ASMF standards
2) provide a concrete support and an operating platform (similar to the existing ones) for the 36-inch valve to be supplied Sunon Asogli Power
3) Sunon Asogli will relocate the metal gate to the northern side at the valve station
4) Sunon Asogli permits the operations of the two 24-inch valves to be installed
5) Provide the welders qualification test (wqt) certificates before any welding works commence, and expected a good technical workmanship for this project.
The Chronicle established that upon receipt of this approval letter, Sunon-Asogli got down to business to tie in at the Kpone Marine Services (KMS) GAO Valve to enable it draw light crude oil to fire the plant and produce power to support the national grid, but Chase Petroleum prevented them from doing so.
Chase, instead, wanted the Ghana-Chinese owned power plant to connect from its yard, so as to regulate the valve. The pipeline in dispute is reportedly owned by TOR and Oiltanking.
The Chronicle discovered that about ten years ago, Trafigural, a foreign company, constructed the offshore discharge point about seven nautical miles off the shores of Kpone for the receipt and discharge of light crude oil.
The Trafigural contract, however, ended in February this year, and as a result, TOR, representing the interest of the Government of Ghana, and a Swedish company, Oiltanking, took over the management of the facility.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Trafigural was demanding a certain fee before adding the Kpone Marine Services (KMS) GAO Valve to the facility.
The Chronicle is, therefore, unable to confirm whether the Gao Valve is under the control of TOR or not. What is known though, is that the oil refinery had given the go ahead for Asogli to tap into the lines at GAO, which Chase has kicked against.
When Chase Petroleum was contacted by The Chronicle, one of its executives, Ben Midorse, said that the company had given Sunon-Asogli the go ahead to undertake the connectivity in their (Chase) yard, for whatever reason he could not explain.
When the Kpone Marine Services GAO Valve Station, which is overseeing the management of the pipeline, was also contacted, its officials did not hide their disapproval over the development.
Mr Edem Kwaku Bono, who spoke on behalf of Marine Services, said if the line was connected to theirs, safety and security matters would not be compromised.
A management source at Sunon-Asogli also told The Chronicle that every efforts made to connect the pipes at Kpone Marine Services GAO Valve Station had proved futile. Management is worried because the continued shut down of the plant is affecting their contribution of generating power to support the national grid.
Meanwhile, a bird has whispered into the ears of The Chronicle that Chase wants Asogli to connect the pipe at their end, so that they (Chase) could toll them (Asogli). But the danger is that should Chase experience any industrial action, the intake point where Asogli would be taking the light crude would be blocked. This could seriously affect power generation at the national level.