Workers of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) are calling on the government to make available crude from the jubilee oil fields in the Western Region, for the refinery to process into finished petroleum products, for the local market.
They argued that TOR had the capacity to refine crude oil to meet 60 per cent of the country’s petroleum requirement, thereby preventing Ghana from spending millions of United States dollars in foreign exchange on Petroleum Distribution Companies (PDCs) to import finished products.
According to the Chairman of the Senior Staff Union of TOR, Mr Bright Adongo, petroleum importation was a highly capital intensive venture, which at the end of the day led to high fuel prices the ordinary Ghanaian had to pay for at the pump.
Speaking to the Ghanaian Times in an exclusive interview during the May Day fanfare at the Independence Square in Accra on Sunday on the state of the country’s premier oil refinery which was lying idle, he implored Ghanaians to compel the government to recapitalise the facility to enable it fulfill its mandate of producing quality premium finished protroleum products.
According to him, TOR was refining crude oil when Ghana had not discovered oil, saying why should we after discovering oil still continue to export the crude when this same could be refined by TOR, he asked.
Just three years ago, TOR, was refining crude from Takoradi but, “today the story is different for which we want the situation and have the refinery empowered to process our own crude.”
Mr Adongo, added, “look at the PDC’s trade, if they incur forex losses, it is the government who pays for these losses,” questioning why the government should continue to give foreign currency to PDC’s when TOR could perform the task.
Mr Adongo said TOR was a strategic national asset, which Ghana must keep and invest in substantially, citing the case of Russia that threatened to shut gas flow to Europe and the chaos the threat would result into, if carried out.
“But when you have your own refinery and crude oil, you will not be disturbed to a large extent, because you will have your refinery running and keeping the industries running as well,” he added.
“Mr Adongo commended President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for putting in a new board and management for TOR, who were now going through the process of doing their bids, hoping that the government would give the new team the needed support to get the refinery regain its former glory.
“When TOR is back, there will be job security, fuel security, an end to scarce forex being used to import refined products which would eventually lead to Ghanaians buying fuel at affordable prices at the pump”, he concluded.
BY NORMAN COOPER