THE announcement last week by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), that it is prepared to sell to Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) its share of crude oil from the Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) oilfields in the Western Region, cannot pass without comments.
It is an important announcement as it provides some answers a vexed question that has been lingering on in the minds of many Ghanaians since the country began oil exploration in commercial quantities in 2007.
Many have wondered why TOR has not been supplied crude oil from the oilfields to refine for the local market given that the refinery was built to refine crude oil in Ghana.
It continues to beat one’s imagination why Ghana continues to import finished petroleum products from overseas and yet have an oil refinery unable to refine oil from existing oilfields for local consumption.
The announcement made by the Chief Executive Officer of GNPC, Mr Alex K. M. Mould, that GNPC was ready to dialogue with its partners to sell all of the part of their share of crude oil from TEN oilfields to TOR is indeed a welcome news.
The decision has been long in coming, in our view, and hope that every effort would be made to ensure that this laudable decision is carried through.
Truth be told, TOR has faced numerous challenges resulting in the refinery sitting idle for a considerable period.
We are told that the refinery has been revamped and operating, and therefore, it should not be a challenge when crude is supplied it for refine.
The TEN partners as well as TOR must use the opportunity to strike a deal that would ensure that TOR is supplied crude oil to produce at full capacity.
For years, many believe that TOR has not operated at full capacity and had become a liability on the state.
We are optimistic that the decision by the TEN partners to supply the refinery with crude oil would change the fortunes of TOR for the future.
It is in this context that all efforts must be made to bring the proposal into fruition.
Now that it is being made clear that the crude oil from the TEN oilfields can be refined by TOR, there should be no excuse not to look for the resources to get the oil to the refinery.
There is no gainsaying the benefit that would accrue to the country, if crude oil is refined for the local market consumption.
Apart from ensuring that the product is available, it could also be exported to neighbouring countries to earn the country foreign exchange and save the country from importing petroleum products with hard currency.