The country’s refinery must be allowed to refine portions of Ghana’s crude oil for the local market instead of selling all on the international market, Isaac Osei, Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery(TOR) has said.
Mr. Osei noted that at the moment, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) sells all of the country’s oil on the international market while TOR shops around for crude oil to refine into finished products for local consumption.
According to him, the situation did not give Ghanaians the confidence and excitement they were supposed to have following Ghana’s discovery of oil in commercial quantities.
He said this on the sidelines of the just ended offshore Technology Conference in Houston Texas USA, at a special panel put together by the Ministry of Energy to discuss issues affecting Ghana’s Energy Sector.
The people of Ghana would better appreciate the real benefits of the recent discoveries of crude oil in Ghana when a percentage of the locally discovered crude oil were refined by the state-owned Tema Oil Refinery.
“For many Ghanaians, this is a paradox that government has to resolve. Ghana has discovered crude oil in commercial quantities and this should translate into the state refinery being provided a portion of such crude as its feedstock.
The people of Ghana and government as a whole would benefit a great deal and the government’s agenda of Ghana Beyond Aid would be given an additional boost it the right structures are put in place and TOR is made to refine local crude oil from TEN, Jubilee and or Sankofa fields as feedstock, ”he stated.
He added that TOR had refined TEN crude oil in the past which gave Ghana good yields in terms of finished products so refining crude oil from Jubilee and Sankofa should not be a problem for the Refinery.
He indicated that TOR’s boilers were designed to process light sweet crude which is drilled in Ghana.
Mr. Osei observed that the good yields from TEN crude oil coupled with a special financial arrangement that would be put in place to cover such transaction would mean quicker payback period.
The former Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, added that “while this would ensure energy product security on the Ghanaian market, it would also boost the confidence of Ghanaians in that the nation was adding value to its own resources”.
He, however, said he was not oblivious of the financial implications of such decisions and recommended that a well-structured financial model should be put in place by government and its strategic partners to support such a move.
Mr. Osei stressed that Ghana’s energy sector could positively contribute to the government’s Ghana Beyond Aid agenda when a strategic synergy was created between the upstream sections.
Touching on the important roles played by both the upstream and downstream sectors, he laid emphasis on how synergies should be created in both the upstream and downstream sections of the Energy sector to ensure product security and value addition.
“We can’t continue to treat both upstream and downstream as separate entities in our energy sector development. We must create a healthy synergy between the two”.
He added that a key factor in ensuring this synergy, however, was training and development which he added that TOR was championing by training several workers of MODEC International.