The reliability on imports of crude oil and its finished products for processing at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) is still deepening the company’s financial woes, Deputy Minister-designate for Energy, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, has admitted.
He said the imports, and a number of challenges, including the breakdown of some plants in 2017, is further aggravating the huge financial constraints of the company.
Crude oil, which is TOR’s main raw material for production, is imported from neigbouring Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon and Angola, and transferred through pipelines to the refinery’s storage tanks for processing into several finished products. In addition to crude, the refinery also imports cracked fuels oil, LPG, and Naphtha.
The imports have contributed to the company’s rising debt, currently estimated to be more than US$340 million as of last year, 2020. With an annual processing capacity of two million metric tonnes, the facility is under refining, juxtaposing with its design processing capacity of 14,000 barrels per stream day.
Notwithstanding TOR’s current predicaments, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, responding to questions on June 7, 2021, by the Appointments Committee of Parliament during his vetting as Deputy Minister designate for Energy, believes that the fortunes of the refinery can still be revived to be profitable, as government is working on that.
“If we are able to refine our petroleum products here and use them, that will be more beneficial to us as a country and as far as I am concerned, government is working to revive the fortunes of TOR,” he said.
He added that a breakdown of some of the company’s plants in 2017, did not receive the needed support for an insurance claim because, TOR had made some modifications to these plants, which was automatically rejected by the insurance cover. “All these issues are affecting the optimum performance of TOR as funding has been inadequate to replace some of the damaged plants,” he added.
Meanwhile TOR has said, it welcomes investment in the form of public private partnership, a joint venture and or loans.
The company has been courting investors for expansion projects to revamp its residue fluid catalytic cracker, expand the 120,000 bpsd (barrel per stream day) stand-alone crude oil distillation unit (CDU), retrofitting of the refinery’s catalytic reforming unit and the construction of an automated loading gantry.
It is also calling on investors for partnerships towards building a new processing capacity and upgrading capacity of utilities.