?While Gov?t Spends Billions Of Dollars To Import Refined Petroleum Products
In 2013 the Government of Ghana spent a whooping USD2.6billion to import finished petroleum products from Europe for local consumption. On a normal day, this expenditure should not make news if Ghana was not an oil producing country and did not have an oil refinery.
The irony however is that Ghana produces oil which it sells abroad and also has an oil refinery which is idling in the industrial city of Tema. Since 2009 the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has been on and off doing only occasional tolling refining for the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
Without saying so it appears that the Government?s Policy in the petroleum sector is to import finished petroleum products rather than resource Ghana?s only oil refinery to process crude locally and thus reduce the cost of petroleum products for consumers.
At a time that government is considering banning some imports into the country particularly food imports, it is not out of place to suggest that perhaps it is time for government to also consider reducing the volume of imports of finished petroleum products and finance TOR to execute its original establishment objective; that is to refine crude locally.
TOR has an operational capacity of 45,000barrels of oil a day whilst Ghana?s total daily consumption of oil is 60,000 barrels. So therefore if TOR was to refine at full operational capacity, Ghana will have to import only 15,000 barrels petroleum products to fill the gap.
Indeed until now that was the arrangement. The country made full use of TOR and imported only the shortfall. We must however hasten to add that due to some operational difficulties mainly financial, TOR is now able to process only 25,000 barrels per day and has been knocking at the doors of Government to inject some USD60million to get the refinery operate fully.
In 2010 the late President Mills visited the refinery and promised to give TOR the money. The late President made good his promise and advanced some USD30million but since then nothing more has been given to the refinery and indeed they are now almost redundant while government imports nearly all of the country?s fuel needs.
The Refinery has been closed three times since reopening in April 2013, following an eight-month shut down from mid 2012.
Ghana started commercial production of crude oil in December, 2010. The Jubilee fields produce 110,000 barrels of the world best crude oils the ?Sweet Light? oil. TOR is able to refine this grade of oil according to engineers and can do even better if their operations are upgraded with the capital injection the refinery is requesting for.
Until the Government takes the decision to assist the refinery and while the policy is to continue importing finished petroleum products into the country, a few companies such as Chase, Cirrus(wood fuel) and Fuel Trade will continue to be the main beneficiaries of the Government?s inaction.
Indeed SCANDAL is informed that the importation of petroleum products for resale in Ghana has become so lucrative that some Politicians and the Family members are all now involved in the business. Welcome to Kwame Nkrumah?s Ghana.
Source: The Scandal