The West African sub-region needs at least a two million barrels per day capacity petroleum refinery to meet market demands for finished products in the short term, an expert has told Xinhua.
In an interview here on Friday during the three-day Ghana International Petroleum Conference Alex Mould, a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) reiterated the need for the governments in the sub-region to create the enabling environment to allow for bold investments in refineries to serve the needs of the market.
“We should be looking at something like two million barrels a day minimum refinery capacity and if West Africa becomes a production excellence base we should be able to expand that refinery,” Mould asserted.
The way to do that, the expert said was to attract investors who were in the refinery business and who were in the business of logistics, storage, transportation and also bring the financial institutions which understood the industry and had the capacity to invest in it.
The conference organized by the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD) in partnership with the NPA and the Ministry of Energy was aimed at gathering thoughts on how Ghana could realize the dream of becoming a sub-regional petroleum hub.
Mould described the conference as timely since it created the opportunity to discuss and address some of the pertinent issues within the sector.
“You must have the strategy right; you must have the execution of the strategy right and you should have the various players addressing the risks involved and the challenges
“West Africa has the demand. There are over 100 ships that sail into West Africa on monthly bases with finished products. We produce huge volumes of crude yet, we do not have any real refinery capacity so there is a real demand for petroleum products,” he observed.
In Nigeria, businessman Aliko Dangote’s 650,000 per day refinery capacity under construction is about 45 percent complete, but Mould who was also CEO of state explorer, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) said that was just 10 percent of crude being produced in the sub-region.
In his closing remarks, Deputy Minister for Energy in charge of petroleum, Mohammed Amin Adam reiterated government’s commitment to provide the enabling environment for the vision to see day light.
“A petroleum hub in Ghana will no doubt create significant opportunities for our economy through value addition, jobs and economic growth,” he pointed out.
He lauded the players in the downstream industry for taking up the challenge to take the lead in discussing the right way to achieve the vision. Enditem