The Institute for Energy Security (IES), has reiterated the need for government to do all it can to ensure the Tema Oil Refinery is revived, in the wake of hikes in prices of fuel at pump stations.
The call by the Institute comes on the back of a recent announcement by President Akufo-Addo that steps are being taken to secure reliable and regular sources of affordable petroleum products as part of efforts to bring reprieve to consumers of the product.
In a statement, it expressed worry that an oil-producing country with a refinery capacity of 45,000 barrels per stream day would have its top government officials abandon its domestic competitive advantage, and rather seek to import refined petroleum products elsewhere, in the name of reliability and affordability.
The IES, on June 16, 2022, called for His Excellency the President’s intervention to as a matter of urgency revive the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). At that time, a gallon of diesel was selling for Gh¢55.
As part of the concerns, the IES indicated that the Minister in charge of the sector was failing to provide the required leadership to urgently lift TOR out of its present condition.
Between June 16th 2022 (when the IES called for the President’s intervention) and now, many undesiring occurrences have been recorded in the downstream petroleum sector, which has brought untold hardship on citizens, and on industries in Ghana.
Price of a litre of Diesel and Petrol has seen an astronomical increase of roughly 79 percent and 95 percent respectively.
Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) increased fuel prices thrice in a single pricing window, a cumulative 46 percent for Diesel and 37 percent for Petrol.
Some Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) declined to release fuel to the Ghanaian market, forcing some companies to shut down temporarily.
The IES explained further that it beats one’s imagination how an oil-producing country with a refinery capacity of 45,000 barrels per stream day, would have its top government officials abandon its domestic competitive advantage, and rather seek to import refined petroleum product elsewhere, in the name of reliability and affordability.
“So soon we seem to have forgotten about the mandate of TOR, and the dream of our founding father Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, for Ghana’s petroleum industry and the economy as a whole. That is fair! But what about President Akufo Addo’s plan for TOR, which he re-echoed on May Day 2022”.
It quoted President Akufo-Addo on May Day, saying, “Nonetheless, intense efforts are being made to rehabilitate the Tema Oil Refinery, to enable it contribute to stabilizing petroleum prices, which should see the light of day very soon. The plan to enhance the dividends of the Tema Oil Refinery, is part of a raft of measures by government to lessen the current economic hardship in the country”.
“The trip to source for reliable and affordable fuel elsewhere defeats the President’s proclaimed intention for TOR and the economy of Ghana. Instead of giving priority to domestic refining of Ghana’s indigenous crude oil, government is rather resorting to gambling on the importation of liquid fuels without giving a thought to the guarantee of sufficient and reliable supply of same”, it stressed.
It added that the government’s sudden appetite for imported fuels to address reliability and cost-related issues can best be described as reactionary, morally indefensible, misplaced priority, and a deliberate attempt to increase the fiscal burden of the Ghanaian economy.
“It may interest Ghanaians to know the status of the negotiation between TOR and the strategic partner announced some months ago, and for that matter when the refinery is re-commencing operation after several months of inactivity,” it concluded.