The turf war between the Energy Ministry and officials of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) does not appear to be ending anytime soon.
Barely 24 hours after the Energy Ministry claimed it had informed TOR officials about plans to turn the refinery into a tank farm, the management and Board of TOR insist no such discussion took place.
Rather, the Isaac Osei led management of TOR said neither he, the board nor workers of TOR will agree to proposals that will turn TOR into a tank farm.
The Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko announced plans by the government to build a new refinery of about 150,000 bbls capacity to take care of the new industrial drive government wants to embark on.
To do that, however, he said there was the need to convert the current refinery which has a capacity of 45,000 bbls into a tank farm.
The new refinery he explained will need enough storage capacity, which TOR already has.
But officials at TOR have vehemently resisted the idea.
“I didn’t come to TOR to preside over its demise. I have not come here to run this company by scrapping it,” TOR CEO Isaac Osei said.
While he admitted that government has a plan to build a new refinery, he was quick to add that at no point was a decision taken to scrap the existing facility.
“Additional refineries are welcome and the government is right to ensure that we have new refineries in this country… but at the same time, we must not lose sight of the fact that we have trained, experienced, competent individuals working as engineers and technicians in present-day TOR. These are national assets which must be protected.
Officials of the Energy Ministry were unimpressed with the public outburst by the TOR CEO.
On Thursday, the Deputy Energy Minister Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam told Joy News’ Evans Mensah he was “surprised at the turn of events.”
According to him, the ministry has had a lengthy discussion with the TOR CEO and the Board chair over the matter and did not understand why Mr Isaac Osei decided to use the media to address his grievances.
Dr Amin Adam
He would rather the TOR CEO will present a proposal on the way forward.
He also stated that the ministry will meet with TOR officials to find a common ground which will revolve around the “economics of refineries, the efficiency of the current refinery, the need for expansion of TOR’s operations to meet our domestic demand, the need to add value to Ghana’s crude oil and the potential for creating more jobs.”
Even before that meeting will be held, TOR officials have issued a statement, denying ever discussing with the Energy Minister the possibility of scrapping TOR and turning it into a tank farm.
“Management and workers of TOR will never agree to any such proposal which seeks to turn TOR into a tank farm.
“We have just completed shutdown maintenance of both the CDU and the RFCC. The focus of management and Board and all the workers of TOR, a limited liability company now is to refine crude oil into finished products to support the economy and nothing else,” the statement said.