General News of Monday, 30 January 2017
Operatives of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) have picked up 10 workers of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) for questioning over a purported arson.
They are supposed to assist the BNI to unravel the circumstance under which several barrels of oil spilled from the refinery into some drains at Tema that caused the explosion of the newly built furnace on Thursday.
The suspects were seriously interrogated and detained for a few hours before they were allowed to leave, according to sources.
The workers, DAILY GUIDE gathered, were made to provide full statements on their night shift duties through to the time the spillage occurred and afterwards.
Few hours after the overflow of crude at about 10:40 am, a Crude Distillation Furnace (CDF) dubbed, ‘F61’ at the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) purchased at about $7 million, exploded, compelling management of the refinery to shut down the CDU.
For fear of fire outbreak, management was forced to carry out the emergency shutdown as there was said to be excessive pressure, coupled with heat.
According to sources, no casualty was recorded but the damaged CDF which enabled TOR to increase its capacity day, was said to have been damaged beyond repairs and might need complete replacement with a new CDF to perform its required function.
TOR is currently running on a single furnace at the CDU instead of double, after technical assessment was done on the plant.
Although the cause of the explosion is yet to be known, IES was of the view that “the non-adherence to safety protocol and standard operating procedures, lack of adequate supervision, inexperienced operating and production management personnel and complacency are many of the factors that could result in such incident.”
The IES statement signed by Richmond Rockson, a Principal Research Analyst, feared that the incident could jeopardise the country’s fuel security, threaten job, and push back the gains made so far by TOR which could again turn the refinery to a storage terminal and impact negatively on the socio-economic growth of the country.