The much-anticipated March 2020 scheduled partial commissioning of the CLSG transmission line in Liberia has been moved to June 2020, a delay arising out of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in China.
Since the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Hong Kong in early February 2020, various measures are being put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus. One of those measures include travel restrictions to and out of China.
The resulting impact of the novel coronavirus is far-reaching and affects every project, including the CLSG interconnection project which has Chinese firms implementing the project in Liberia.
The General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG Mohammed M. Sherif made the revelation at the high-level Commercial Framework meeting in Abidjan, Wednesday, February 12, 2020.
He said restriction intended to contain the coronavirus epidemic in China has impacted the CLSG project, hence the March 2020 commissioning. He said Chinese experts who traveled to their home country for the annual Lunar New Year festival are faced with travel ban as the health crisis looms.
Calling it force majeure, Mr. Sherif said the four CLSG countries have been notified about the prevailing situation and that all four countries including Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, remain hopeful that virus epidemic would go away and the EPC contractors return to continue their work on the project.
The General Manager laments: “Unfortunately, we have been forced to move the commissioning date from March 31, 2020 to June 2020 due to circumstances beyond our control, including the outbreak of the coronavirus in China which has affected the movement of key Chinese experts who are to undertake critical works and pre-commissioning tests on sub stations in Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as the SVC contract in Cote d’Ivoire.”
Mr. Sherif furthered that difficult terrain and poor condition of the roads are some of the challenges in the implementation of the CLSG project.
Meanwhile the affected EPC contractors from SEIYUAN have written the management of Transco CLSG invoking force majeure due to the travel restriction, which left management with no option but to shift the commissioning date to June 2020.
In addition to the Chinese experts being absence, final factory acceptance for the remaining equipment are put on hold as factories carrying out these testing are shut down.