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Efforts being made to restore FPSO – Petroleum Commission

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FPSO Kwame Nkrumah
FPSO Kwame Nkrumah

The Petroleum Commission, the upstream petroleum regulator, says efforts are being made to ensure that the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah resumes operations in the Jubilee fields safely and as soon as possible.

The Petroleum Commission said in a statement issued on Monday April 25, and copied to ghanabusinessnews.com that it is monitoring a root cause analysis led by Tullow in order to prescribe a long term solution for the FPSO.

Authorities announced on March 20, that the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah was shutting down for a planned two-week routine maintenance, which deadline has since been postponed and extended a number of times due to damage of the vessel’s turret bearing.

After inspecting the vessel, the Petroleum Minister, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, conceded the damage on the turret bearing was serious.

The external turret which accommodates subsea mooring lines, risers and other piping, helps the vessel to keep balance and to rotate about the turret. The damaged turret bearing means the vessel cannot keep its balance and be used for storage. Currently, the vessel is said to be on ‘heading control’ with two tug boats holding it.

Sources in the oil and gas sector have told to ghanabusinessnews.com that the announced “routine maintenance” which has since affected oil and gas production and power generation in the country, was not routine but rather due to the damage on the turret.

Some have also suggested that the seriously damaged turret bearing may require that the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah go into a dry dock for repairs, the nearest options being Spain or Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. This would require several weeks.

The chairman of the civil society platform on oil and gas Dr Steve Manteaw believes Ghanaians are not being told the full truth on the FPSO’s situation, possibly because some of the Jubilee partners who are publicly listed companies, could be adversely affected on the stock markets.

He expressed to journalists at a training workshop by the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ), that Ghanaians need to be told the truth since the FPSO’s challenges have implications for revenue, the national budget and the availability of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

As an interim remedial measure for the challenges on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, a dynamic position tanker with capacity of 250,000 barrels is shuttling between the production site and another storage tanker with capacity of one million barrels.

By Emmanuel Odonkor

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