TOR must not shut down - Mills
Posted on: 2011-Sep-08        Citi fm
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President Mills has told the Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) that he doesn’t want the facility shut down.

Mr. Ato Ampiah told Citi News President Mills gave his personnel assurance towards ensuring that the refinery does not grind to a total halt when the two met at the Castle on Wednesday September 7, over the imminent close down of the refinery.

Botched crude imports from Nigeria have starved TOR of urgently needed crude supply to feed the refinery which has consequently been operating at half capacity for the past two weeks.

Its Residual Crude Catalytic Cracker, (RFCC) which produces 90 percent of the country’s LPG supply would be shut down early next week if no crude consignment arrives in the coming days.

Already the refinery’s crude distillation unit that processes crude into diesel, petrol, kerosene and other products has been closed for almost two weeks due to the shortage of crude oil.

Mr. Ampiah told Citi News the Refinery was discussing the possibility of swapping crude stocks with the Volta River Authority to avert a total stall of the refinery.

“We are also hoping that with the assurance we have had from Nigeria, we will be able to lift the crude from their soil.

“It is true that we have stopped producing for a number of days but is not that TOR is not distressed in terms of crude, the issue with the Nigerian fields where the supply comes from.

“In the reports I have read it shows some of the terminals have either reduced production, minimized output, or vandalized.

“The Nigerians are supposed to examine the refineries before any export is done so there is a lot constriction in supply and it has been difficult getting the crude around”.

Mr. Ampiah recommended how the recurrent crude shortage could avert in the future. He said it was important to ensure that the plant is sustainable to reduce the strain in recent times.

“Anybody can produce. We are talking about viable production. Thankfully, we are making steps towards that.

“The government has offered $66 million and I also believe that TOR must be funded properly with working capital. The fact that TOR debt is being paid does not mean it has enough money to work with.

“We also asked the government to give us $200 million to support the importation of crude oil. We also will be able to have term contract with suppliers. This way we sign agreement with companies to supply us crude over a specific period of time. Now we are forced to do term contract