Posted: Wednesday 23rd July 2014 at 23:06 pm

Energy Minister meets TOR union over revamping ailing industry


Ghana’s Energy Minister, Emmanuel Kofi Buah has met with representatives of the Tema Oil Refinery Union over plans to revamp the ailing industry.

The meeting follows the union’s demonstration Tuesday, which sought to put pressure on the government to urgently restore TOR.

Management also demanded information on plans to engage a public-private partnership with Petro Saudi of the Saudi Kingdom.

The management said it was not privy to the content of that deal.

Sixty-seven million dollars was needed to restart operations at the refinery.

The government in 2011 released some $37 million but it failed to lift the refinery from the doldrums and therefore, had to seek a public-private partnership with Petro Saudi.

Local Union Chairman of TOR, Emmanuel Eduah insisted the government, as a sole shareholder, could guarantee a loan of about $400 million and wondered why it was not doing so.

The amount, he noted could recapitalize the refinery. ‘We know we can pay within a short while because we have the past track record that we can always pay back our loans,’ he said.

He told Joy News’ Dzifa Bampoh that there were still competent staff and technical persons ready to do the work despite losing others to oil rich countries in the Middle East.

He said the machines have been shut down because they are no longer processing. He added the machines were in good conditions. ‘When we get the raw materials; we can easily do the work,’ he stated.

‘We are not telling government to give us the Jubilee crude for free. We said we are buying the crude from Nigeria; we are using dollars to go and buy the crude from Nigeria so you give us that crude and let us pay for it. The dollar that we are taking to Nigeria, you sell it the same price as Nigeria will sell to us and let’s pay for it. That’s what we are saying; we are not saying the government of Ghana should give us the crude for free.’

He said if TOR was recapitalized, they would be ready to process crude from the Jubilee fields at the country’s economic rate.

Benjamin Boakye, Programmes Director of the African Centre for Energy Policy also told Joy News the demand for TOR to be revamped has not been the call of only the workers but every concerned Ghanaian who pay a premium for an imported product.

He noted, the move, would diversify the oil supply stream.

‘It doesn’t really make sense if we have a refinery as a country and we cannot manage it to operate and we always give excuses as to why TOR cannot operate when the technical people on the ground insist that they can operate to make margins,’ he emphasized.

He noted there have not been any figures to suggest that if TOR refined the crude, the country would run into losses.

‘TOR says they can refine it, let us see the numbers; let us see the economic analysis of what they want to do then we can make proper reasoning out of what these issues are really, but if we just say that it is better for us to export ours and import, we are not making any economic analysis here,’ Mr. Boakye explained.

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