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Petroleum Minister confirms FPSO damage is serious

The Minister for Petroleum says a technical investigation of the condition of the turret bearing on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah confirms that the bearing has been seriously damaged.

Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah says Jubilee Fields lead partners, Tullow Oil, has assured the government that oil production and gas export can continue but under revised operating and off-take procedures.

The turret bearing is no longer able to rotate as originally designed.

The Minister spoke with Joy Business after a visit to the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah to understand the extent of the problem.

The Petroleum minister explained that production from the FPSO is expected to will re-start by April 23.

A root cause analysis is ongoing and a project team is assessing to find a long-term solution to the operational problems on the FPSO.

The country Manager for Tullow Ghana Mr Charlse Darko said, the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah has now been placed on “heading control” through the use of tugs which minimise vessel movement around the bearing.

He added that, new operating procedures, including the use of a dynamically-positioned shuttle tanker (capacity of 250,000 barrels of oil) and a storage tanker (capacity of 1 million barrels of oil), are being implemented to assure safe production and off-take operations.

According to Mr Darko, although all necessary equipment for the new operating procedures, including the two tankers, are in place, it is important that additional time and due care is taken to implement new procedures and receive required approvals.

Darko said, “safety and protecting the environment remain Tullow’s key priorities. Tullow currently estimates that production from the FPSO will re-start in approximately two weeks time and will also take time to ramp-up. Tullow’s production guidance will be re-issued once the new operating arrangements have stabilised.”

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