The dream of Isaac Osei led-Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to overcome ‘no crude oil’ syndrome which has been bedevilling the state-owned refinery for months now has fizzled out, Today can report.
Barely two months after TOR took delivery of some 950,000 barrels of crude oil for processing after several months of inactivity through its sale and purchase agreement with British Petroleum (BP), the company has gone back to its sorry state as there is no money to buy crude oil again, leaving the workers worried.
Our investigations indicated that, for the past one week, the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) which was working fully has been shut down due to the lack of funds to purchase crude oil.
As for Residual Fluid Catalytic Cracker (RFCC), our further checks showed that it has been inactive since March this year when some maintenance works were done on it.
In an interview with Today last week Wednesday, some workers at TOR who seemed perturbed about the situation blamed top management for everything happening at TOR.
They were particularly not happy with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TOR, Ambassador Isaac Osei, who, they said, was not proactive, and therefore, called for his dismissal before TOR collapses.
They were also not happy that they go to work without doing anything, and go back home “all because we don’t have crude oil,” the aggrieved workers said.
According to them, workers at TOR were not feeling the positive economic impact the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government claims it has brought to Ghanaians.
“Our salaries and allowances are always delayed, management always have to struggle to pay us at the end of every month. For instance, we received our November salary on 6th December, a week after the month ended,” the workers said.
They also said some retirees of the company were yet to receive their retirement packages after one year of retirement due to lack of money.
The workers, who did not mince words, claimed poor management was the result of TOR’s woes, and called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to, as a matter of urgency, save the sinking state-owned refinery.
It would be recalled that, the Institute of Energy Security (IES), recently in a statement demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the loss of about $24 million to the state at TOR.
The loss, according to IES, was occasioned by a bad sale and purchase agreement between the management of TOR and BP.
The IES in the said statement alleged that, after TOR took delivery of 950,000 barrels of crude oil on October 19, 2018, the refined product was now stranded in tanks due to the failure of TOR to find off-takers for the product.
Also the Minority in Parliament last week accused TOR CEO of incompetence in managing the refinery.
Minority Spokesperson on the Energy Committee in Parliament, Adam Mutawakilu, said the company was incurring losses under Mr Osei’s supervision.
“The company is now going into serious debt despite the TOR debt recovery levy,” he stated.
Speaking to our Parliamentary Correspondent, Franklin Asare-Donkoh, the Damongo Member of Parliament (MP) explained that as a state-owned company, “TOR is required to appear before the committee every year to brief the legislators on the state of its finances and its planned programmes for the year.”
According to him, officials of TOR had ignored multiple invitations to appear before the committee since 2017, hence their consideration of an official summons.
“Tema Oil refinery as a state-owned enterprise under the energy sector is supposed to account to the Committee of Mines and Energy yearly, first on the programme of activities that they want to undertake for the year, mid-year review and any issue that comes up. This is quite worrying.
“TOR must know that whatever businesses they run is for the people of Ghana and we are the people’s representatives. As the Speaker’s Committee, we have the powers of a high court. Soon we have to subpoena them to appear before us so that we can look at their financials. Any debt accrued is the debt of the people. TOR has been very incompetent in the management and as a result, they don’t want anybody to have access,” he said.
But Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, expressed surprise at the allegations thatTOR had refused to appear before Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee since January 2017.
Speaking to Citi News, Mr Amewu said “the CEO of TOR is an experienced former MP who cannot disregard the House in such a manner.”
He, therefore emphasised the need for Mr Mutakwakilu’s claims to be probed to establish the truth.
“He has been a Member of Parliament, very experienced, so for me it will be surprising. But we can check from him and find out whether it is true. Knowing that he was a Member of Parliament, he knows the parliamentary rules, he’s very experienced person but of course we need to find out whether what the Minority is alleging is true,” the energy minister said.
When Today at the weekend contacted the Public Affairs Manager of TOR, Dr Kingsley Antwi-Boasiako, to confirm or otherwise the claim that the CDU had been shut down, he denied, and said, work was going on at the refinery.
According to him, TOR will not allow any civil society organisation (referring to IES) to set an agenda for them to follow.
Concerning the claim by the minority in Parliament that his boss had refused to honour an invitation to appear before the house, he said, TOR would wait for the minister’s probe into the matter.
Story: Atta KWAKU BOADI
Writer’s email: email@example.com