LONDON, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Ghana's natural gas pipeline will not begin pumping gas before next April, the country's deputy energy minister said, in a further delay to a project crucial to the country's bid to overcome an energy deficit.
Ghana is considered one of Africa's brightest economic prospects because of its stable democracy and exports of cocoa, oil and gold but frequent power cuts raise costs for industry and depress consumer purchasing power.
The undersea pipeline which runs from the offshore Jubilee field to a thermal plant near the port city of Takoradi has been hit by funding and other delays.
"By the end of Q1 the facility should be ready. Within Q2 we should be producing gas," Deputy Energy Minister John Jinapor told Reuters in London on Wednesday.
The project was supposed to begin pumping this year but was delayed until January.
A cargo vessel bringing equipment for the gas rig sank at sea, which is one reason for the delay, and it costs the government about $12 million per month in light crude used to make up the gas shortfall, he said.
The pipeline is funded through a loan from the China Development Bank and a further cause of the delay has been holdups in disbursement of the loan with $500 million of $850 million received to date, Jinapor said.
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