The Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has expressed the government’s commitment to ensuring the country’s only Refinery, Tema Oil Refinery, TOR, is up and running.
The refinery has not been operational for a while now due to several challenges, including the inability of the entity to pay its workers.
But the Energy Minister says government will do everything within its power to ensure TOR resumes full operations.
“TOR is a strategic national asset, we will keep it so and ensure that TOR grows from strength to strength, anyone working here management or ordinary who thinks his activities will not lead to the promotion of TOR should find himself a better place to work.
I said it to the union leaders, and they did not love it, it is not the duty of the workers to tell who manages TOR. It is the duty of the management of TOR to ensure that TOR grows to become a profitable healthy concern, and if they are not up to it, it will be up to the owners of TOR to bring in the necessary change to affect that healthy relationship.”
He added that. “And since the government is the only shareholder in TOR, the government will work to bring partnership in TOR that will help TOR grow not to help TOR break, and when those partnerships occur and I know they are going to appear very soon we will not hesitate in removing stumbling blocks who want the collapse and hide under everything. We cannot understand where on your books people TOR have worked for, owe TOR as much as 13 to 18 million dollars and we cannot find money to pay TOR workers.”
Some stakeholders including the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, COPEC, had called on the government to revamp TOR to prevent it from eventually collapsing.
TOR has shut down two years ago over the lack of crude, as managers of the facility were unable to raise letters of credit.
But institutions like the integrated Centre for Democratic Development, ISODEC, believed the closure of the refinery was a deliberate attempt by the government to convert it into a tank farm, for the setting up of a new refinery in the Western Region.
In January 2019, the government announced an ambitious plan to build a new oil refinery to replace the Tema Oil Refinery within the next three to four years.
Parliament recently passed the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation Bill 2020.
The Bill once assented to by the President, will establish the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation to promote and develop a petroleum and petrochemicals hub in Ghana’s Western Region.
The project will involve the development of infrastructures such as refineries, port terminal facilities, storage facilities, as well as petrochemical and Liquefied Natural Gas terminals with a network of pipelines to supply petroleum and petrochemical products for both domestic and sub-regional markets.