Isaac Osei, the Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), has made a strong case for refining part of the crude oil produced in the country by the state-owned Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) as the first step in building synergy between the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.
“We can’t continue to treat both upstream and downstream as separate entities in our energy sector development. We must create a healthy synergy between the two,” he said.
He stressed that the people of Ghana will better appreciate the real benefits of the recent discoveries of crude oil in Ghana when a percentage of the locally discovered crude oil is refined by the state-owned TOR.
The TOR MD was speaking on the sidelines of the just-ended Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, USA, at a special panel put together by the Ministry of Energy to discuss issues affecting Ghana’s energy sector.
Despite calls for localisation of the crude oil, Mr. Osei said he is however not oblivious to the financial implications of such decisions – and went ahead to recommend that a well-structured financial model should be put in place by government and its strategic partners to support such a move.
Touching on the important roles played by both the upstream and downstream sectors, the former High Commissioner to the UK and ex-Ambassador to Ireland laid emphasis on how synergies should be created in both the upstream and downstream sections of the Energy sector to ensure product security and value addition.
Using the cases of Tema Oil Refinery and GNPC as instances, Mr. Osei noted that the present situation of Ghana selling all its oil on the international market while the state refiner shops around for crude oil to refine into finished products does not necessarily give Ghanaians the confidence and excitement they’re supposed to have in the fact that Ghana has discovered crude oil.
“For many Ghanaians, this is a paradox that government has to resolve. Ghana has discovered crude oil in commercial quantities – and this should translate into the state refiner being provided a portion of such crude as its feedstock.
“The people of Ghana and government as a whole would benefit a great deal, and the government’s agenda of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ would be given additional boost if the right structures are put in place and TOR is made to refine local crude oil from TEN, Jubilee and/or Sankofa Fields as feedstock
“We have refined TEN crude in the past, which gave us good yields in terms of finished products; so, refining crude oil from Jubilee and Sankofa should not be a problem for TOR. The TOR plants are designed to process light sweet crude oil, and the oil from all these fields are light sweet,” Isaac Osei announced.
“While this will ensure energy product security on the Ghanaian market, it will also boost the confidence of Ghanaians that the nation is adding value to its own resources,” Mr. Osei intimated.
He said the good yields from TEN crude, coupled with a special financial arrangement that will be put in place to cover such transactions, will mean quicker payback period.
A key factor in ensuring this synergy, however, is training and development; and this, Mr. Osei noted, is what Tema Oil Refinery has been championing by training several workers of MODEC International.