Government will get TOR back on its feet – Energy Minister

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Minister of Energy

The Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has said that the government is committed to ensuring that the country’s only refinery, Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), is up and running.

TOR has not been operational for a while now due to several challenges, including the inability of the entity to pay its workers.

However, Dr Opoku Prempeh has said that the government will do everything within its power to ensure the refinery resumes full operations.

“TOR is a strategic national asset; we will keep it so and ensure that TOR grows from strength to strength. Anyone working here, management or ordinary, who thinks his activities will not lead to the promotion of TOR should find himself a better place to work,” he said.

Clearing misconceptions

In an interview with the media, he revealed that in an interaction with the union leaders of the company, he told them it is not the duty of the workers to tell who manages TOR. The said the union leaders were dissatisfied with his comment.

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“I said it to the union leaders, and they did not love it. It is not the duty of the workers to tell who manages TOR. It is the duty of the management of TOR to ensure that TOR grows to become a profitable healthy concern, and if they are not up to it, it will be up to the owners of TOR to bring in the necessary change to affect that healthy relationship,” he stated.

“And since the government is the only shareholder in TOR, the government will work to bring partnership in TOR that will help TOR grow not to help TOR break [even], and when those partnerships occur, and I know they are going to appear very soon, we will not hesitate in removing stumbling blocks who want the collapse and hide under everything. We cannot understand where on your books people TOR have worked for owe TOR as much as 13 to 18 million dollars, and we cannot find money to pay TOR workers,” he added.

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Differing views

Some stakeholders, including the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), had called on the government to revamp TOR to prevent it from eventually collapsing.

TOR was shut down two years ago over the lack of crude, as managers of the facility were unable to raise letters of credit.

But some institutions, including the Integrated Centre for Democratic Development (ISODEC), believe the closure of the refinery was a deliberate attempt by the government to convert it into a tank farm, for the setting up of a new refinery in the Western Region which it announced in January 2019.

Petroleum Hub

Parliament recently passed the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation Bill 2020.

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The bill, once assented to by the President, will establish the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation to promote and develop a petroleum and petrochemicals hub in Western Region.

The project will involve the development of infrastructures such as refineries, port terminal facilities, storage facilities, as well as petrochemical and Liquefied Natural Gas terminals with a network of pipelines to supply petroleum and petrochemical products for both domestic and sub-regional markets.

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