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Opinions of Thursday, 11 January 2024

Columnist: Ida Nyantekyiwaa

Power outages: GNPC innocent; commitment to energy stability cannot be altered

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In the wake of recent allegations blaming the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) for the country’s power supply challenges, it is crucial to examine the facts and set the record straight.

It’s become amply evident that some persons or group of persons have sought to publish absolute falsehoods in an attempt to mislead the people of Ghana on the apparent challenges in the energy sector.

Claims by some energy analysts have wrongly implicated GNPC, its Board, and CEO, suggesting that outstanding debts to the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo) are to blame for the current power outages.

However, a closer look at the detailed clarification issued by GNPC in November 2023, backed by verifiable checks reveal a different narrative—one that absolves the Corporation from blame and rather amplifies the it’s commitment to energy stability and transparency.

First off, GNPC, functioning as a counterparty to the Gas Transportation Agreement (GTA) with WAPCo, has overtime, shown unbridled commitment to the OCTP Gas Sales Agreement’s (GSA) requirements which has seen WAPCo directly invoicing GNPC for the gas transportation to power plants generating electricity for onward distribution by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to consumers. A fact that stands contrary to the misleading narrative being maliciously circulated.

The financial intricacies come into play with the traditional Cash Waterfall Mechanism (CWM), utilized by ECG to pay gas transportation invoices.

The fact remains that recent challenges arose due to the insufficient funds received by GNPC from ECG to settle WAPCo’s invoices. A situation that moved GNPC to actively engage all relevant stakeholders in a bid to resolve the challenges, sending numerous letters to ECG and the Minister for Energy between July and October 2023. These letters underscored GNPC’s appreciation of the potential consequences of gas transportation service curtailment and the urgent need for resolution.

It therefore begs the question why anyone would seek to shirk responsibility by setting up the one entity that took proactive steps to forestall the current situation for blame. In one such move, a letter dated 16th October 2023 was sent to the Minister of Energy, seeking intervention. Unfortunately, power supply challenges ensued as WAPCo curtailed gas transportation services.

It is, therefore, difficult to fathom the motivation behind the repetitive urge of some to hold the National Oil Company accountable for the power supply challenges when rather, the Corporation has consistently prioritized uninterrupted gas supply.

It remains a verifiable fact, again, that GNPC’s CEO, Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah and his senior management have actively engaged WAPCo throughout the just ended year, successfully negotiating feasible payment arrangements to prevent service disruptions. This is in sharp contradiction to any claim that GNPC was responsible for the non-payment leading to gas supply curtailment and subsequent power challenges.

Clearly and for what it’s worth, the only mention of GNPC in all of this should be one highlighting the Corporation’s dedication to transparent and proactive communication in addressing and resolving challenges affecting the energy sector.

As we navigate the complexities of the energy landscape and to finding solutions to the current challenges, it is essential to base our understanding on accurate information.

GNPC’s contribution to energy stability and its proactive efforts to resolve challenges should be acknowledged and appreciated. The Corporation’s stance in the face of all the misinformation exemplifies a commitment to both accountability and the well-being of the nation’s energy infrastructure.