A vessel carrying one million barrels of crude oil belonging to the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company Limited (BOST) arrived at Tema Port on Saturday and will be processed by the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) under a tolling arrangement.
After refining the crude oil, TOR will hand over the finished products to BOST, which is the owner of the crude oil.
TOR is a strategic asset in terms of its total assets and employment generation.
It also contributes to the financial and insurance sectors, security of the petroleum sector, as well as supports suppliers, industries and builds linkages with academia.
Information gathered by The Finder indicates the refining of one million barrels of crude oil will take 35 days at a rate of 28,000 barrels per day.
According to the information, TOR is tolling the crude oil for BOST for a fee.
Consequently, BOST is taking all the risk associated with the price fluctuations and foreign exchange risk.
Sources said the heating up process of the Residue Fluid Catalytic Cracker (RFCC) started on Monday with 33,000 metric tonnes of atmospheric residue.
The information revealed that crude samples have been taken off the vessel for analysis and the crude distillation unit is expected to start processing the one million barrels in some 35 days.
TOR completed the processing of the 800,000 barrels of crude oil it took delivery of in December 2014 before the RFCC broke down on March 13, 2015.
TOR loses $350,000 each day the refinery’s processing plants do not operate.
The refinery, which broke down again on March 13, 2015, after it bounced back in December 2014, makes $350,000 daily when it operates at full capacity.
TOR continues to make a loss of a minimum of $5 million to restart each time it is forced to shut down due to the unavailability of crude, fault, or in the event of a power cut to the facility.
By design, the refinery is expected to run continuously for a maximum of two years before it is shut down for a major maintenance of its equipment, but information gathered by The Finder indicates that in recent years, the refinery is only able to run continuously for two to three weeks and then shuts down due to unavailability of crude.
TOR requires a constant supply of eight megawatts of power to be fully operational, but it is able to generate 5.5 megawatts from its generators and depends on the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for the remaining 2.5 megawatts.
TOR refines 45,000 barrels of crude oil per day while the national demand is about 65,000 barrels per day.
This leaves a deficit of over 20,000 barrels per day.
As a result, the Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) were allowed into the system to import refined products to fill the deficit.
However, due to inconsistencies in TOR’s operations, amid frequent shutdowns of processing units since 2009, mainly due to a lack of capital to procure crude oil on a continuous basis, BDCs were importing refined products to satisfy the 100% needs of the country.
TOR processes none of the roughly 100,000 barrels per day of crude oil produced by the Jubilee offshore field.
Before the deregulation policy that paved the way for the entrance of Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs), TOR was contributing 10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In November 2014, the then Deputy Minister for Energy and Petroleum, John Jinapor, announced that the government was in talks with Petro-Saudi in a joint-venture arrangement to revive the ailing oil refinery.
The agreement, when reached, would see the Arabian firm plug the inefficiencies that have engulfed TOR.
Per the agreement, a new marketing firm called TOR-PS (TOR Petro-Saudi) would be set up to procure crude oil and sell the finished products.
Petro-Saudi is expected to control 49% of the stakes while Ghana manages the remaining 51%.
TOR refines crude to produce gasoline, cracked fuel oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), aviation turbine kerosene, gas oil, naphtha and atmospheric residue.