The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers-Ghana (COPEC) is accusing the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, of seeking to collapse Tema Oil Refinery and turning same into a into a tank farm for only the storage of oil.
The Minister had announced at an Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston Texas plans to build a new refinery with a capacity of 150,000 bbls.
At that same conference, Mr Agyarko disclosed plans to turn the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) into tank farm purposely for oil storage.
The announcement was met with fierce resistance from the Minority in Parliament and TOR’s Chief Executive Officer, who said: “I didn’t come to TOR to preside over its demise. I have not come here to run this company by scrapping it”.
The latest to express misgivings about the move is COPEC, describing the move as an attempt by the Energy Minister “to cheaply scrap it whiles asking investors to come put up another one in the Western Region”.
Copec observed among other things that the challenge of the oil refinery in Tema over the years has been political interference and it fears this latest interference may lead to TOR’s imminent collapse.
“The over $1billion refinery plant has had its own challenges since inception with most of these challenges stemming from interferences by politicians over the period and once again it is at crossroads, this time for ultimate survival or complete collapse,” Copec noted in a statement on Monday.
COPEC blamed the current state of TOR on a political leadership that does not have the vision to add onto the production capacity of the refinery but rather in a hurry to collapse it.
It noted that the most significant challenge of the refinery currently has to do with some additional investments in replacing some of the obsolete equipment to improve efficiency and profitability.
COPEC is therefore calling on the Energy Minister “to immediately withdraw the unfortunate position within the next one week as this pronouncement is not serving anything positive aside to deepen the woes of our refinery from potential investors”.