The General Transport Petroleum Chemical Workers Union (GTPCWU), the mother union of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) employees, are meeting with management today, Thursday, April 27, to discuss the refinery’s activities.
This follows a press conference held by the workers to air their grievances about the refinery’s non-functionality, which has the capacity to refine 45,000 barrels of crude oil per day but is currently only carrying finished products rather than fulfilling its core mandate of refining crude.
Mr Bernard Owusu, National Chairman of the GTPCWU, told the Ghana News Agency in Tema that they had a successful meeting with the Minister of Energy on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, about upgrading the refinery’s operations.
Mr Owusu stated that the planned picketing and series of activities in public locations to support their demands could not take place as planned because the Ghana Police Service indicated that they did not provide them with sufficient notice as required by the Public Order Act.
However, he added that a letter had been issued to the Ghana Police Service, and TOR workers in Tema would engage in a series of industrial actions between May 2nd and 5th, 2023.
Every day, between 06:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., TOR workers are scheduled to picket at the Motorway Roundabout, Rana Roundabout, MP’s Roundabout, Hospital Roundabout, and Community 5 Traffic Light.
During a news conference, the GTPCWU National Chairman questioned why Ghana had crude oil, but TOR could not obtain it to refine, saying, if TOR operated at full capacity, it would supply the country with 50 percent of its total domestic use, 100 percent of Residual Fuel Oil for industrial operations, 20 percent to 25 percent of LPG consumption, and 100 percent of Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK).
Mr Owusu indicated that Ghana needed about $4.8 billion in petroleum product imports on average each year and that if TOR was producing, the forex requirement for petroleum product imports would be reduced by more than half.
Other advantages, he claimed, included cheaper local ex-pump costs due to the elimination of some import levies, such as the freight rate of $92/Mt for petrol, $101/Mt for diesel, and $83/Mt for LPG.
He noted that restoring TOR to full capacity will reduce financing costs because these transactions were priced in cedis.
The Union underlined that, given Ghana’s current financial difficulties and debt restructuring process, major advantages from TOR’s efforts should be prioritized on the national agenda.