Govt must save TOR now — Think tank

BY: News Desk Report

The Institute for Energy Policy and Research (INSTEPR) says the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) needs special attention from the government to determine the long-term viability of the company.

The energy think tank said it had followed current happenings at the refinery with grave concern, and believed that the government’s attention was crucial to save the company from collapse.

A press statement issued by the institute said the company had been in the news for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks.

“We learnt of the exit of the Managing Director, Mr Francis Boateng, and the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Ato Morrison, who were appointed to head TOR 14 months ago.

“Workers’ agitation over non-payment of salaries, water supply to the refinery being disconnected by the Ghana Water Company Limited, unavailability of crude oil to be refined at the refinery, to mention a few, are the recent headlines in the country,” the statement said.

The institute said TOR was a 45,000-barrel per stream day (bpsd) capacity crude distillation unit (CDU) and a 14,000bpsd residue fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) unit which converted atmospheric air to higher value finished products.

No quick fix

According to INSTEPR, there was no quick fix to the myriad of problems at TOR.

“Some people are of the belief that if the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) gives local crude oil to TOR and the Ministry of Finance also gives money to the refinery to pay six months of salaries, the problems will disappear.

“Unfortunately, that is a misconception. All refining done by TOR in the last six years using the CDU and RFCC have resulted in losses to the refinery,” the statement stated.

What to do

The think tank consequently suggested that some actions needed to be taken at TOR to give the company any chance of survival.

The actions, the statement said, included fixing the CDU from the 23,000 bpsd to 45,000bpsd; solving the RFCC problem; installing hydrotreating catalysts and technologies for all crude oil fractions to enable the refinery to meet the 50 parts per million or lower specification; constructing a gas pipeline (less than one kilometre) to power the refinery to stop it from using expensive crude oil for power; and putting measures and security in place to stop the theft of products.