Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blame President Mahama for TOR’s woes -Young Patriots

President John Mahama
Pro NPP Young Patriots group thinks President John Mahama should be blamed for the Tema Oil Refinery’s malfunction.

The group maintains that President Mahama cannot isolate himself from the current managerial deficiency that has hit the nation’s oil producing body.

Chairman for the Young Patriots, Richard Nyamah raised this in statement copied to Citi News stating, “President Mahama over the last week has been shedding crocodile tears on the deepening energy crisis facing Ghana but Young Patriots can state without any fear of contradiction that the President is part of the problem and has contributed to our poor energy supply needs. Any show of concern therefore is to pull the wool over our eyes.”

The group is convinced that the current Mahama led NDC government lacks the political goodwill to fix the numerous problems that have rendered TOR useless.

“President Mahama over the past 2-3 years as then Vice President had a series of meetings and negotiations with Union leaders of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) in an attempt to know the true state of affairs of TOR and how to resolve the issue; however, he failed to put in place any pragmatic measures to help ameliorate our suffering when it was made clear to him that unless the oil mafia within his government is prevented from taking advantage of Ghana, the albatross will continue to hang on our necks.”

The Young Patriots asserted that the government has outsourced the importation of finished petroleum products to private oil distribution companies owned by NDC cronies such as Vihama oil, Strategic oil, Eco Petroleum, Fuel trade and Shelico for which reason TOR has been liquidated.

“The major role the oil cabal within the government has played through the importation of finished petroleum products in place of TOR cannot be wished away; the President and the NDC need to explain the persons behind the some of the above companies have turned the storage facilities of TOR into their private properties and storing their personal finished products and making profits at the detriment of the state.”

The group insisted that Ghanaians deserved to know the true state of TOR. “Our concern as a group is that the President has the full facts and has either failed or refused to do anything about this matter.”
The Young Patriots did not spare the National Petroleum Authority Boss, Mr. Alex Mould.

“We are also aware that the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and Mr. Alex Mould in particular has questions to answer as to why the NPA has on several occasions instructed TOR to shut down when it had no faults and no reasons to do so.”

The group recalled, “TOR as we are currently speaking has operated for less than two years in the last four years and has been shut down for the last 9months with all workers still on full pay and allowances at the expense of the taxpayer; we do not understand why TOR over the past two years has not been paid any monies from the TOR recovery levy which still being collected.”
“It is mind boggling that a company which has not been operating for the better part of four years has still got a debt of over $300m for subsidizing a product that it has not produced,”the Young Patriots fumed.

By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

First spill trial witness: BP put cost cuts over safety

Deepwater Horizon
By Kristen Hays
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - BP Plc fostered a culture that put cost-cutting over safety before the deadly 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a noted forensic engineer said in the first day of testimony in the federal civil trial centered on the disaster.

"There is ample evidence of intense pressure within the system to save time and money," said Bob Bea, co-founder of the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, Berkeley. "With stress and pressure come sacrifices to safety."

Bea was the first witness for the plaintiffs, the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Gulf Coast states suing Macondo well owner BP, rig owner Transocean Ltd and well cement provider Halliburton Co.
The plaintiffs plan to call Lamar McKay, chairman and president of BP America, to testify as a hostile witness once Bea wraps up. McKay is a member of the London-based oil company's executive committee, alongside Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley.

Bea consulted with the White House commission that investigated the spill and prepared a report faulting BP for the plaintiffs in the case. He also had consulted with BP on risk management prior to 2005.

He said BP cut its Gulf of Mexico costs by 22 percent from 2008 to 2009 while increasing oil and gas output by 55 percent.

Bea said during questioning by Robert Cunningham, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, that he had told BP that "money isn't everything" and that incentives for major accident prevention should be on equal footing with incentives for profits.

BP lawyer Mike Brock, during cross-examination, pointed out repeated public statements about commitments to safety by former Chief Executive Tony Hayward and Andy Inglis, former global head of exploration and production -- both of whom left their jobs under pressure months after the disaster.

Hayward in particular became a lightning rod for the company after the spill, at one point telling a reporter "I'd like my life back" in the harried weeks after the spill.

Bea agreed that while statements about safety were positive, they were not enough on their own. "The statement of the talk has to be backed up with effective walk," Bea said.

The April 2010 blowout at BP's Macondo well caused an explosion that killed 11 men, sank a rig and spewed more than 4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Bea later conceded to Brock that, in the years leading up to the blowout, BP had invested in training programs and set aside budgets to increase process safety - as the safe operations and handling of hazardous materials are known.

Bea is well known in New Orleans, site of the trial, because he was a key witness in litigation over failed levees when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, flooding much of the city and leaving more than 1,800 people dead.

The non-jury trial before U.S. District Judge Carl Barber is split into three phases, with the first focused on allocating blame among the defendants and the severity of their negligence.

The case is In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, No. 10-md-02179, in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

(Reporting By Kristen Hays; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Andrew Hay)

Monday, February 25, 2013

BNP Paribas Sees 2014 Oil Price Swings as OPEC Moves to Balance US Supply

BNP Paribas expects the price of crude oil to be broadly unchanged on-year through 2014, but with wild swings likely in mid-year as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries makes moves to balance the market in the face of U.S. supply growth.

In its first forecasts for 2014, published Monday, BNP Paribas said it expects supply-demand challenges to balance each other out and financial conditions to become less supportive of any material move higher in the price of crude.
But as bottlenecks ease in the U.S., and the price-supportive environment afforded by a weak dollar and loose monetary policy reverse with economic improvement, OPEC is likely to respond with supply cuts in order to defend a price floor commensurate with the financial needs of its Gulf member states.
BNP Paribas expects the price of a barrel of Nymex WTI crude to fall as low as $93 in the second quarter 2014 before recovering to $105 a barrel by year-end. The U.S. benchmark is likely to narrow the price gap with Brent, the bank said, and it expects the European marker to open 2014 at $114 a barrel and close it at $113 a barrel, dipping as low as $106 a barrel in the second quarter.
For 2013, BNP Paribas cut its forecasts for both contracts. It now sees WTI averaging $97 a barrel in the first quarter of the year, some $8 a barrel lower than its previous projection, and expects the contract to average $104 a barrel in the fourth quarter, some $5 a barrel lower than previously thought.
For Brent, BNP Paribas expects a price of $115 a barrel in the first quarter, some $5 a barrel lower than previous expectations. For the fourth quarter the bank also expects $115 a barrel, some $2 lower than previously.
Write to Ben Winkley at

TUC Ask Government Not Privatize Tema Oil Refinery

The Ghana Trade Unions Congress (GTUC) on Friday said privatization of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) will not be in the interest of majority of Ghanaians therefore the labour front will resist any attempt to privatize it.

TUC questioned why Ghana should stop domestic refining and import refined products now that the country is producing oil.

“As it is, TOR is suffering the fate that has befallen all important state assets – run it down in preparation for privatization,” TUC stated in a statement signed by Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General, to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

TUC described the attempt to denigrate TOR as a manifestation of corruption that has engulfed the petroleum industry and that there are many players in the petroleum industry who are profiting at the expense of ordinary Ghanaians.

The statement said the Petroleum Products Price Build-Up contains as many as six different margins designed to benefit a few owners of marketing companies and other players in the industry.

The TUC alleged that the lack of transparency in the petroleum industry is deliberately designed to facilitate corrupt practices of the few people in society who are well connected.

“We believe that some transparency in the petroleum sector will lighten the burden on Ghanaians and it should be considered as part of the measures to deal with the chaotic situation in which the
petroleum industry finds itself,” the TUC stated.

Source: GNA

TOR to resume operations from next month

Managing Director, Ato Ampia

The Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) is set to resume operations from the first week of March.

This follows the completion of repair works on its refinery plant, which broke down in July last year due to some challenges with power supply.

The state refinery last month secured about half of a 67-million-dollar facility from government as part of its Plant Sustainability and Profit Enhancement programme.

TOR is expected to start refining about thirty thousand barrels of crude oil a day when it starts operations.

Managing Director, Ato Ampia explains to Joy Business measures being instituted to ensure that the refinery remains viable after the resumption.

According to him, they have fixed "boilers which were consuming a lot of fuel oil. Last year we consumed almost about US$60 million worth of fuel oil, we are going to use only about 10 percent.”

He added that TOR coming back will greatly improve supply of fuel on the market and help the country make some savings on crude oil imports.

The Tema Oil Refinery debt currently stands at 350 million dollars after government managed to clear about almost a billion Ghana cedis over the past four years.

It currently requires about 650 million dollars for their day to day operations going forward.

TOR is in negotiations with a bank for a trade finance facility which will ensure sustainable procurement of crude oil.

This Facility is expected to be available by the end of March 2013. The refinery has not been capitalized since the Government of Ghana became sole Shareholder in 1977.

In addition, financial institutions saw TOR as high risk and as such were not interested in transacting business or in establishing Letters of Credit with TOR due to the debt on its balance sheet.

The fluctuating cost of crude oil also put pressure on the profit margin of refineries worldwide, including TOR.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tanker Operator newsletter - Feb 22, 2013

Tanker Operator
Could China spark a mini-revival?
(Feb 22 2013)
- A recent revival in the Asia/Pacific region has sparked signs of at least some optimism for tanker owners. >>more
Tanker breaks down for the second time
(Feb 22 2013)
- A small Russian operated tanker became stranded for the second time in the Sea of Japan after suffering an engine failure, the Russian Emergencies Ministry reported on Sunday. >>more
Tanker Operator Athens conference - March 2013
Chemical tankers collide near Galveston
(Feb 22 2013)
- Two chemical tankers collided early Wednesday morning in the Gulf of Mexico, US Coast Guard officials confirmed. >>more
Aker Philadelphia close to contracting more product carriers
(Feb 22 2013)
- Aker Philadelphia Shipyard has confirmed that it has signed a non-binding agreement to build and sell two to four product tankers with expected deliveries in 2015 and 2016. >>more
Nordic Shipholding terminates obligations to Clipper
(Feb 22 2013)
- Nordic Shipholding has decided to exercise an option held in an agreement dated 28th March 2012 between Nordic Shipholding, Nordic Tankers Shipowning and Clipper Group. >>more
OW Bunker charters German products tanker
(Feb 22 2013)
- OW Bunker is to deploy a second supply vessel in North America by chartering in a German controlled product tanker. >>more
Tokyo MOU to categorise vessels' risks
(Feb 22 2013)
- The Tokyo MOU has confirmed that a new inspection regime (NIR), similar to one already in operation in the Paris MOU countries, will enter into force on 1st January 2014, warned ABS. >>more
Offshore and gas assets help to reduce Teekay's losses
(Feb 22 2013)
- Teekay Corporation has reported an adjusted net income of $2.9 mill for the quarter ended 31st December, 2012, compared to $1.6 mill for the same period in 2011. >>more
Impairment charge hits Concordia's bottom line
(Feb 22 2013)
- Swedish tanker operator Concordia Maritime reported a result before tax, excluding impairment, of SEK41.6 mill for 2012. >>more
Stealthgas reports firming results in LPG sector
(Feb 22 2013)
- LPG carrier and tanker operator Stealthgas reported an increased net income for the fourth quarter of this year of $7.8 mill, compared to net income of $4.4 mill for 4Q11. >>more
Eitzen Chemical bullish on chemical sector future
(Feb 22 2013)
- Eitzen Chemical reported EBITDA of $5.1 mill for 4Q12, compared to $6.2 mill in the previous quarter. >>more
AMSC not worried about charterer OSG's situation
(Feb 22 2013)
- Jones Act tanker operator American Shipping Company (AMSC) reported operating revenues of $22.2 mill for the fourth quarter of last year, compared to $21.9 mill for Q4 2011. >>more
BP active in charter and S&P markets
(Feb 22 2013)
- In the charter market sector, 'Nave Rigel' Navios' newbuilding LR1 has been fixed to unknown interests for 12 months at $11,850 per day, plus a 50% profit sharing agreement. >>more
Anderson joins Univan
(Feb 22 2013)
- Donald Anderson, former CEO and president of V Ships group has joined Univan as an advisor to the executive board. >>more
BASS teams up with OSM
(Feb 22 2013)
- Shipmanagement concern OSM is to have 14 vessels fitted with the BASSnet maintenance and procurement modules to enhance the productivity of their vessel operations. >>more
UKHO warns of dangers posed by counterfeit nautical charts
(Feb 22 2013)
- The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has issued a warning over the dangers posed to the safety of vessels, crews and cargoes by counterfeit nautical charts and publications. >>more
Arcadia to go paperless
(Feb 22 2013)
- Having fitted Transas dual ECDIS systems on its entire fleet n early 2006, tanker concern Arcadia Shipmanagement has decided to move its fleet to paperless navigation. >>more
ECDIS Ltd endorsed by Nautical Institute
(Feb 22 2013)
- UK based navigation training and consultancy company ECDIS Ltd has been accredited to Nautical Institute (NI) approved type specific certificates to students on completion of their generic MCA and DNV approved 1.27 ECDIS courses. >>more
Ambrey Risk gets nod from Cyprus administration
(Feb 22 2013)
- Maritime security concern Ambrey Risk has gained accreditation to work with Cyprus-flagged vessels. >>more
NI looks to numerical weather forecasting
(Feb 22 2013)
- The Nautical Institute (NI) has launched 'Numerical Weather Prediction' - a practical guide for seafarers aimed at explaining the benefits and limitations of numerical weather prediction (NWP). >>more
AMA's new surveying and consultancy arm
(Feb 22 2013)
- Atlantic Marine Associates (AMA), a member of the Eagle Ocean Group, which includes Shipowners Claims Bureau, managers of the American P&I Club, has introduced a marine surveying and consultancy capability. >>more
Frontline gives 2015 warning
(Feb 22 2013)
- Frontline has reported a net loss of $16.6 mill for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with a net loss of $49 mill for the preceding quarter. >>more

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

StocExpo conference


The deadline for the early bird discount offer has passed, but we still have one final discount offer for you to attend the StocExpo conference. With the growing importance of social media in business today, we would like to reward members of our social media groups by offering a special 10% discount to attend the StocExpo conference.

Not a member of our social media groups? Join now so you can avail of this discount too! Simply click on the images above to go to our groups and sign-up!

We have a great line-up of key industry experts at the conference, who will be discussing best practice solutions, opportunities, challenges and business strategies to maximise efficiency within the tank storage sector. Don't miss out on this valuable and insightful opportunity - book your place now before it's too late!

What are you waiting for?Contact:
Chris Collins
T: +44 (0)20 8843 8825

Take a look at a high quality speakers we have lined up:

European refining is facing a ‘perfect storm’ starting now
Speaker: Chris Hunt, Director General, UKPIA
Market developments - the impact of the Eurozone crisis with refinery closures and new ownership
Speaker: Mark Lewis, Managing Director, Facts Global Energy Group
Training and competency in a high hazard environment
Speaker: John Reynolds, Director, Fire Safety Training
Recent evolutions in the tank storage sector in the Port of Antwerp
Speaker: Xavier Vanrolleghem, Commercial Manager Antwerp Chemical Cluster, Port of Antwerp
The ignition hazards of static electricity associated with vacuum tankers in tank cleaning operations
Speaker: Mike O’Brien, Product Manager, Newson Gale
Advances in wireless valve technology
Speaker: Tito Sequeira, Global Market Manager, Refining Oil and Gas, Pentair Valves & Controls
Take a look at the full conference programme here.
What about attending the free-to-attend exhibition taking place alongside the conference?
With close to 200 of the industry's leading companies showcasing what is new and innovative in the market, a visit to the StocExpo exhibition would be worth your while. Network with your business peers and find solutions to make your life easier - REGISTER NOW!

We look forward to welcoming you to the show.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Game over for OPEC?

Game over for OPEC?
Photo Credit:Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

Major Middle East oil exporters could see a significant worsening of their trade balances of around 4%-10% of GDP in the long run if they fail to take measures against the rising shale oil production across the world, warns PricewaterHouseCoopers in a new report. Shale oil and gas, extracted through a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques (also known as fracking), has turned the United States into an energy powerhouse and accelerated crude output in the country from shale plays in the Bakken region in North Dakota, Eagle Ford in Texas and Marcellus in eastern United States.

The country raised output by 800,000 barrels per day last year alone to increase total output to 7.25 million, second only to Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that U.S. crude output is expected to reach 8.15 million barrels per day by 2014 - its highest level since 1988. Some estimates suggest the U.S. would eclipse Russian and Saudi production by the end of the decade.

The rapid growth has caused alarm bells among OPEC countries which fear that a supply glut could lead to a price collapse.

Global shale oil production could reach 14 million barrels of oil per day by 2035 - or 12% of the global supply, according to the consultancy.
"We estimate that this increase could reduce oil prices in 2035 by around 25%-40% ($83-$100/ barrel in real terms) relative to the current baseline EIA [US Department of Energy's statistical arm] projection of $133/barrel in 2035, which assumes low levels of shale oil production."

The lower cost of energy would fuel global economic, raising global GDP by as much as 3.7% - or USD2.7-trillion in today's global GDP values.

"The potential emergence of shale oil presents major strategic opportunities and challenges for the oil and gas industry and for governments worldwide," PwC noted in the report. "It could also influence the dynamics of geopolitics as it increases energy independence for many countries and reduces the influence of OPEC."

Russia, Argentina, China and Australia, which are home to massive shale oil and gas reserves, could also help transform the energy industry, making OPEC a sideshow in the global energy place.


But it is important to remember that fracking for shale oil and gas has not been a huge success in other parts of the world.

There are a number of reasons why shale extraction may not have the same success globally as it did in North America.
North America arguably has the most developed energy infrastructure anywhere in the world. Massive pipelines, rail and waterways infrastructure, makes access to markets easier from, say, Eagle Ford in Texas to the accomplished refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Availability of skilled labour, market and business frameworks and access to oil services and machinery, makes shale development much easier.

That will not be the case in the remote regions of Russia, China and Argentina.

2 GEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCESEach shale basin is different, and needs a markedly different approach. ExxonMobil discovered that problem in Poland - the most promising shale play in Europe -- when it exited a promising shale basin as the project turned out to be economically viable.

France, another country with major shale gas reserves, has banned fracking as it considers a process that could damage water tablets, and lead to air pollution and even earthquakes.

Elsewhere in Europe, there is huge public opposition to shale oil and gas development.

"The shale gas industry in Europe will be influenced in pace and feasibility by key factors such as environment and social factors, energy prices, gas demand and fiscal and regulatory regimes," said John Avaldsnes, Ernst & Young's EMEIA Oil & Gas Sector Leader in a report. "It is increasingly clear that the shale gas debate is a contentious one."

Meanwhile, China has been trying to produce natural gas from its massive shale plays for years, but has been largely unsuccessful. After numerous failed efforts, it recently recruited Royal Dutch Shell and has now issued a number of licenses, but has little to show for it so far.

"Development of shale gas outside the US has arguably been disappointing to date and the same issues (including regulatory obstacles, infrastructure, logistics and skills challenges) may also influence the pace at which shale oil opportunities are pursued outside the US," PwC admits.

3 MATURING WELLS While proponents of shale oil development point to the gushing wells in North America, they often hide the fact these wells have a short shelf life. Investment bank Bernstein counted more than 6,000 wells in the Bakken region in Montana alone that reached maturity within five to six years, which suggests operators are on a breathless hunt for new exploration and well-drilling which is a costly exercise.

The investment bank notes production is down 35% in Montana.

4 BREAKEVEN PRICESWhile many of the shale plays are cheap and can be profitable, reduced Brent and West Texas Intermediate prices would be a disincentive to explore new shale plays.

"At $60 per barrel oil, North American exploration and producing companies would cut spending by 40%, or $100-billion," said Clint Oswald, analyst at Wall Street bank Bernstein. "OPEC budget breakevens and more marginal, mature fields internationally also support oil prices above USD90."

5 THE CASE OF REFINERIESWhile U.S. oil imports have decreased over the past few years, Saudi Arabia managed to raise its market share of U.S. crude to 16% from around 12% in previous years. This is due to its three massive refineries in Texas in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell. Most Gulf Coast refineries prefer heavier crudes than the light crude oil produced from shale plays.

Still, there is no room for complacency.

OPEC producers have their own rising domestic crude oil demands that need to be curtailed.

In addition, instability in places like Iraq, Iran, Algeria, Syria, Libya and Yemen has hurt production growth in all the countries. As such, customers from China, India, Japan, South Korea and Europe have been forced to look elsewhere for secure supplies.

That desire for energy security has driven China and its Asian counterparts to places like Eastern Africa, Canada and Australia.

It may turn out that instability is a bigger threat to Middle East oil exporters than shale.

© 2013

Ghana earns $107.9m from oil sale fourth quarter 2012

Ghana got $107.9 million as its share of revenue from oil exports in the last quarter of 2012.

That came from 994,646 barrels of crude lifted by the Ghana Group — the Government of Ghana (GoG) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) — within the three-month period.
Data released by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) further showed that 7.8 million barrels of crude were lifted from the Jubilee Field, out of which 6.9 million went to the five partners of the field.

The data also indicated that $65 million out of the $107.9 million gross receipts remained as net receipts to the government after the necessary deductions — royalties, equity financing costs, carried and participation interest, among other deductions — had been done.

All petroleum receipts had been allocated as required and would be reported and published in accordance with the law, the data, which was signed by the Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Tekper, noted.

It, however, showed that partners of the Jubilee Field, led by Tullow Ghana, were yet to pay corporate tax to the government following their inability to make and report profit within the period under review.

This means that the country is yet to earn a pesewa as corporate tax from oil exploration and production (E&P) companies, two years into oil production at Cape Three Points off the Western coast of the country.

Corporate tax is 25 per cent of a company’s profit and will be nil, as is the case with the E&P companies, should the company concerned report no profit.

Also, the fiscal regime entered into by the government and the companies allow for cost recovery of 20 per cent per annum over a five-year period.

As a result, any profit made by the companies will be returned to them and declared as cost (expenses incurred by the companies from 2007, when field and well development and appraisals started, to 2010, when actual production took off).

About $4.2 billion was expended by the five companies, collectively called the Jubilee partners, within that period, according to data from them.

Per the contract entered into with those companies, that amount must be recovered as capital allowance or cost before they can begin to declare profit and subsequently be in a tax-paying position.

That notwithstanding, the government budgeted for GH¢660 million as corporate tax from the petroleum sector in the 2012 budget, a target it will not realise.
Source: Daily Graphic

AOMC Names 2013 Accredited Oil Marketing Companies

Association of Oil Marketing Companies of Ghana
The Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs), today named 51 accredited oil marketing companies in good standing for business in 2013.

The companies are: Agapet Oil Company Limited, Naagamni Oil Company Limited, Allied Oil Company Limited, Obiba J.K. Company Limited, Anasset Company Limited (Gas), Oando Ghana Limited, Ap Oil & Gas Company Limited, Pacific Oil Company Limited and Bano Oil Company Limited.

Others are: Petrobay Oil Company Limited, Benab Oil Company Limited, Quantum Petroleum Company Limited, Capstone Oil Company Limited, Strategic Energies, Crown Petroleum Ghana Limited, So Energy Ghana Limited, Champion Oil Company Limited and Sonnidom Energy Limited.

Dukes Petroleum Company Limited, Superior Oil Company Limited, Excel Oil Company Limited, Shell Ghana Limited, Ev Oil Company Limited, Sky Petroleum Company Limited, Engen Ghana Limited, Star Oil Company Limited, and Fraga Oil Company Limited, were also named.

The rest are: Trinity Oil Company Limited (Gas), Frimps Oil Company Limited, Top Oil Company Limited, Galaxy Oil Company Limited, Total Petroleum Company Limited, Grace Petroleum Oil Marketing Company, Trade Cross Limited (Gas), Ghana Oil Company Limited and Ubi Petroleum Ghana Limited.

Glory Oil Company Limited, Unity Oil Company Limited, Glasark Oil Company Limited, Union Oil Company Limited, Havilah Oil Company Limited, Universal Oil Company Limited, and Jeokona Company Limited.

Virgin Petroleum Company Limited (Gas), Kaysens Oil Marketing Company Limited (Gas), Venus Oil Company Limited, Lucky Oil Company Limited, Modex Oil Company Limited, Manabah Gas Company Limited, Merchant Oil Ghana Limited, and Nasona Oil Company Limited.

A document obtained from AOMC by Ghana News Agency in Accra today, noted that although it was not a requirement for all network marketing companies to become members of the Association, members stood to benefit from corporate recognition.

The Association called on oil marketing companies who are yet to register with the Association to come on board, for "in unity lies strength".

It also tasked its members to strictly comply with all laws including anti-trust legislation of Ghana whilst avoiding engagement in product dumping and adulteration practices.

In Nigeria, oil divides the rich and poor

In Warri, Nigeria, oil barons bunker themselves off from the desperate poor, who are left without a steady income or basic services.

Comparing the Divide: The oil that lies underneath Big Spring, Texas, and Warri, Nigeria, creates economic distance and physical barriers between workers who extract the crude and their privileged bosses. Big Spring and Nigeria also share similar Gini coefficients — the standard measure of income inequality — of .431 (Big Spring) and .437 (Nigeria).

WARRI, Nigeria — On the outskirts of Warri, the brooding commercial capital of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta State, the streets leading into brand new multi-million dollar developments reek of crude oil.
In a casual display of excess, gallons of the delta’s “light and sweet” crude — possibly the most valuable commodity on the planet — are dumped daily into the open gutters to suffocate the mosquitoes breeding in the stagnant water.

Starting in 2009, when the government enacted an amnesty program that saw several thousand Delta fighters exchange weapons for cash, followed by the election of President Goodluck Jonathan, a native of the Niger Delta, there has been an overall effort to redirect oil wealth back to the communities that host Africa’s largest oil industry. Since then, a small, emerging segment of the population — primarily politicians and former militants with access to government contracts and revenues — has grown spectacularly wealthy and powerful, while most Nigerians remain poor and beholden to the generosity of the elite.

In communities like Ubeji, a neighborhood in Warri, wealth from oil rents fuels the construction of mansions at a furious pace, bypassing the building of roads and other public infrastructure, like water and electricity. As a result, there is no urban plan. Bumpy dirt paths weave through a random scattering of lots featuring custom metal gates, electric security fences, private water towers, industrial-sized generators and paved driveways. Black foreign luxury cars with dark tinted windows slink through the jungle maze and disappear into fortresses.
“The government doesn’t provide anything. So we have build it ourselves. We are the government here.”
~Moses Okotie
“The government doesn’t provide anything,” explained Moses Okotie, a resident of Ubeji who works for a local oil company operating between Warri and the nearby Escravos terminal – Chevron’s largest oil tank firm in the country, one of the largest oil producers in the world. “So we have build it ourselves. We are the government here.”

Every morning, throngs of people gather outside the steel gates of these homes to wait for a possible meeting with the community’s “chairmen,” oil barons who sit atop vast hierarchies upon which thousands of people depend, both formally and informally, for a lifeline. Their “boys” man the entrances, dressed in high fashion purchased on recent trips to London, Paris and New York City. Many of the new oil rich here own second homes in Texas, close to expat American oil workers who work on their land.

“The people who are here are really trying,” explained another woman lingering at the gate, seeking support for a talent show for disadvantaged youth in Warri. “I’m happy with anyone opportune to penetrate the oil industry here. These are the people that allow our community to eat.”
Along with increasing the numbers of mansions, the rise of wealth has increased investments in malls, movie theaters, hotels and mega churches throughout oil boomtowns such as Warri and nearby Port Harcourt. Luxury hotels such as the Protea Ekpan in Warri cater to the Nigerian and expat oil and gas elite and to Nigerian politicians with rooms priced between $400-600 per night.
A man waits at the bar of the Protea Ekpan Hotel of Warri. Luxury hotels such as the Protea Ekpan cater to the Nigerian and expat oil and gas elite and to Nigerian politicians, with rooms priced between $400-600 per night.
(Samuel James/GlobalPost)
In the evenings, politicians in flowing gowns file into the marble lobby flanked with armed military escorts, rifles double- and triple-clipped with duct tape – protection against the constant threat of kidnapping and armed robbery, the Delta’s other booming commercial industries. In the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, oil company workers hold muffled conversations with security consultants over champagne and fresh fruit.

“We call it padi-padi politics,” explained Ramzen Edema, while waiting on his boss — a local chief and pipeline contractor — to finish a meeting with an oil company representative at the Protea Ekpan bar, “you have to know someone to get something.”

“That’s why I am here,” he said. “Education doesn’t mean anything in this country, what’s necessary is loyalty to your chairman. You just do what he says. You don’t think, you don’t argue, you follow the leader.”

And while the interior atmosphere matches that of any five-star hotel globally, its back view abuts a smoky, grey expanse of rusting refineries and constantly burning gas flares. Just outside the gates — along a road lined by the head offices for Chevron, Texaco, Shell and the residential camps of their employees — homeless vagrants live in smoldering refuse dumps between the express lanes. Polio victims crawl on their hands and knees begging for stray bills from cars leaving the garrisoned compounds.
he source of this wealth is not far away. The intricate waterways surrounding Warri contain some of the world’s largest deposits of light sweet crude — easily refined and therefore highly sought on the global market.

On Warri’s swampy fringes, where new developments sit atop freshly cleared mangroves and dark mud soaked with crude oil, massive tank firms store petroleum products shipped in from the nearby creeks. The firms are owned by the new elites based in the city. Surrounding the tank firms, seagoing vessels line the waterways, waiting to load millions of barrels of raw crude oil before setting forth across the Atlantic. Hundreds of rusty oil tanker trucks line the roads to transport diesel, petrol and kerosene to filling stations across the nation.

Despite being Africa’s largest oil producing region and the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to the United States, fuel for daily use is among Nigeria’s scarcest and most expensive commodities. Due to constant power outages, Nigerians who can afford them rely on privately-owned generators for electricity. The poor live in darkness.

Oil provides roughly 87 percent of government revenues, 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings, 96 percent of export revenues, and almost half of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, despite the fact that the Nigerian exchequer takes in more than $50 billion from oil annually, more than 90 percent of Nigerians live on less than $2 a day and 70 percent live on less than $1 a day. In the Niger Delta, youth unemployment is at 40 percent. Hovering at the fringes of the oil industry are those cut out from the extreme wealth that flows to the politicians and those with connections to them.

In the evenings, tanker drivers park their vehicles in line at the tank firms and bathe in nearby ponds coated with the sheen of diesel fuel. Weaving in and out of the waiting trucks are school-age children, hawking goods like satchel water and spiced meat to help support their families and themselves.
Godwin, a 15-year-old boy who lives with his uncle in a nearby village, works there every day after school. He sells meat pies from 3 p.m. until everything is sold, usually around 10 p.m., leaving little time for homework. His uncle forces him to work in order to pay for his school fees.

“If I don’t work, I don’t go to school,” he explained, straining his neck to keep the heavy load balanced on his head. “I just pray someone can help me to further myself, but I don't have any connection.”

In Nigeria, where unregulated corruption has concentrated extreme oil wealth into the hands of a small group of elites, while systematically denying most of the population access to even the most basic amenities, a great many rely on individuals to fill the safety net where the state has failed. Those without connections to the wealth flowing through the center live a precarious and unrelenting day-to-day struggle for survival.

Tucked away throughout back corners of Warri’s new developments are hordes of migrant laborers who have set up nomadic camps in the shells of the half-finished concrete mansions. Most of these young men migrated from Niger within the past two years, fleeing drought.
Every morning, hordes of migrant laborers from Niger gather at this bus stop near Ubeji and wait for someone to contract them for the day.
(Samuel James/GlobalPost)
Every morning, they gather at nearby bus stops or construction sites for builders to contract them. Someone walking into these areas can be immediately surrounded by hundreds of desperate faces selling their labor for less than $10 a day.
In the evening, after work, they quietly pack away to the unfinished buildings; setting up outdoor campfires where they boil rice in carefully rationed communal vats. A twenty-room unfinished mansion can house up to 100 workers for the night. They sleep scattered on mats, exposed night after night to the ferocious onslaught of the delta’s mosquitoes.

“In our place, the grass doesn't grow,” explained Kadir Abdul, an 18-year-old from Niger with intricate Fulani tribal marking carved into his face and dressed in tattered rags, “so we had to come to this side, where there is work.”

Illegal and looked down upon by Nigerians, who call them “boko,” they are the people helping to build the labor-intensive mansions, doing the most menial jobs of clearing the jungle brush, digging holes in the sandy dirt, laying stone, dredging the swamps.

Abdul arrived in Warri about eight months ago, traveling by foot over the porous border in northern Nigeria and then taking the 20-hour bus ride down to the delta from Kano. For the past month, he has been working seven days a week, clearing out a plot of land owned by one of the most powerful businessmen and community leaders in the Niger Delta.

With a rented pick axe, shovel and wheelbarrow, Abdul and four others dig away at a strip of overgrown earth next to one of Shell’s high-pressure pipelines—which cuts through the community and is used by locals to burn their refuse and by nomadic herders from Niger to graze their cattle.
They are making way for the expansion of the estate — a dozen acre fortress complete with a pool, a separate entertainment center, 15 cars, a driving range, and a private zoo of ostriches, peacocks, and gazelles. This latest addition will serve to house a formidable security detail manning the gilded, 12-foot high entrance to the grounds, a quarter of a mile from the current gate.

“There is trouble in this country,” explained a private security consultant who is overseeing the construction. “And this town is very volatile, we have many armed robbers, thieves, kidnappers… They are brutal. They can do anything to penetrate the gates, that is why we need to build them higher and higher.”

Nevertheless, it is where people will wait, farther down the road, for a chance to see the “chairman” — and possibly find a lifeline.

Gov’t has no business building refineries – NPA Boss

Gov’t has no business building refineries – NPA Boss
Alex Mould

The Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Alex Mould, has dismissed suggestions that government should build a second refinery to process crude oil locally.

He said the business of building a refinery should be left to the private sector.

After the announcement of new prices for petroleum products Sunday, there have been suggestions that government should consider building a refinery that is larger than the Tema Oil Refinery, to process crude oil. That is believed to significantly reduce the price of petroleum products in the country.

TOR has not seen a major investment in its operations in the last 15 years, and currently needs capital injection of about $200 million to enable it operate at full capacity.

But speaking on Joy FM's Super Morning Show Monday, February 18, 2013, Mr. Alex Mould said “it does not make economic sense” for government to invest in building refineries.

“If you’re building a refinery you have to look at a refinery of huge economies of scale and you have to look at the West African region…Real question is why should government be involved in the building of a refinery; and why don’t the private sector do that,” Mr. Mould queried.

“Government should not be in the business of refining,” he emphasised.

The NPA Boss suggested that government should rather create the environment for the private sector to invest in refining to generate taxable incomes from which the state can make some money for social investment.

Government on Saturday announced a 15 to 20 per cent increase in fuel prices effective Sunday, February 17, 2013 based on the crude oil price of $116 per barrel and an exchange rate of GHS1.89/USD.

"The maximum indicative price for a litre of petrol will be GHS 2.0496 (GHS9.22 per gallon) and the maximum indicative prices for a litre of diesel will be GHS2.0683 will (GHS9.31 per gallon)" the statement said.

Kerosene is also up by 15 per cent and will be selling at 104. 65 pesewas per litre.

LPG is also up by 50 per cent and will be selling at 194.85 per litre or GHS24.36 per a 12.5 kg cylinder.

According to the release, the government has maintained some subsidy on the prices of petroleum products.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tema Oil Refinery costs TOR $63M in 7 months

The Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) is feared to have lost more than $63 million since July 2012 as a result of its inability to process and refine crude because of broken equipment.

Ghana’s only state-run refinery has been operationally idle since July last year due to the breakdown of critical equipment.

In August last year, Reuters reported that both the main crude distillation unit and the residual fuel catalytic converter of the 45,000 barrels-per-day refinery plant had been shut down.

Reuters reported that a close source within TOR said: “The changers (a component of the plant) were blocked and needed to be replaced but lack of funds has delayed the work”, adding that some boilers had worn-out.

The faulty equipment were expected to have been replaced last year.

TOR has been plagued by repeated shut downs over the past few years, often due to unavailable crude after its main lender Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) cut off support due to unpaid debts.

In May last year, TOR’s Managing Director Ato Ampiah announced that management had secured some $900 million in financing from banks, BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered to help the plant settle its debt backlog and purchase crude supplies.

Even though the government defrayed the state Bank’s debt a year earlier, TOR still remained indebted to some bulk oil suppliers.

In August last year, Reuters said its source within TOR said: “We are still grappling with issues over crude availability, but for now that was not the key reason for the current shutdown.”

Kwesi Pratt Jr told Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana Newspaper review programme on Wednesday February 13 that: “TOR has not produced a teaspoon of crude oil since July, as a result the Tema Oil Refinery is losing 300,000 dollars a day”, he charged adding: “Calculate and see how much we are losing”.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Vladimir Putin Is Trying to Buy Up the World's Gold

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Russia has become the world's biggest buyer of gold under the leadership of Vladimir Putin.

Over the last decade -- during which Putin was perennially in a position of power, serving as both president and prime minister -- Russia's Central Bank added 570 metric tons of gold, or about 1.25 million pounds. According to Bloomberg, that's about 25 percent more than China has added over the same time period. The report adds that the gold bullion acquired by the Central Bank weighs as much as three Statues of Liberty.

So what motivated the Russian president to become the real-life version of Bond villain Auric Goldfinger?

While the fictional criminal genius had a devious plot to enrich the value of his gold stockpile by irradiating the gold in Fort Knox, Russia needed no such villainy to make its gold more valuable: Over the past decade, economic forces have conspired to cause gold prices (GC) to increase by around 400%. Quantitative easing and economic uncertainty in the wake of the global downturn have fueled a gold rush by skittish investors, sending the price sky-high. And that's made Putin look like a genius for beginning the gold-buying policy in 2005.

One Russian lawmaker, Evgeny Fedorov, laid out the strategy in simple terms.

"The more gold a country has, the more sovereignty it will have if there's a cataclysm with the dollar, the euro, the pound or any other reserve currency," he said in a phone interview with Bloomberg.

Despite Russia's gold binge, it's still far from the biggest owner of gold. The country's current stockpile of 958 tons is good for only eighth in the world; the U.S. ranks first with 8,134 tons of gold, more than twice as much as runner-up France.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Welcome to The Fuelhandler Magazine

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Jet fuel spills in Russia's AmurJet fuel leaked and polluted a 400m2 area in Russia on 22 January after a cargo train derailed.

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Nolinor Aviation deploys BATTCanada-based air transport company Nolinor Aviation has announced that, effective 1 February, it will deploy the Bulk Aviation Transportation Tank (BATT) on its...
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CLH Group plans €60 million investment throughout 2013 Spain-based oil transportation and storage provider CLH Group has set aside €60 million which it will spend this year on infrastructure network expansions and...
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

$80 million worth of gold flown out; Officials tight-lipped

Stunning reports are emerging that Ghana may have dished out 1.5 tons of gold, worth almost $80 million, to the People's Republic of Iran without proper documentation.

On January 19, Mehr News Agency (MNA), a private Iranian news agency, reported that Turkey had released a cargo plane full of Gold from Ghana "carrying Ghana's commitment to Iran in gold."

On January 2, 2013, Turkish authorities seized the stash of gold in a Turkish Airlines cargo plane bound for Dubai en route to Istanbul's Ataturk Airport in Turkey.

The Turkish authorities claim the gold lacked the necessary papers needed before it could be transported.

It was, however, realised that the information given to the authorities was not entirely true because nobody knew where the cargo originated from or where its destination was, even though the gold onboard the plane bore the Ghanaian seal.

Both Ghanaian authorities and executives of the Turkish Airlines have been tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding the strange gold haul.

After the seizure in Turkey, Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi came to Ghana for a closed-door meeting meet President Mahama on January 8, 2013. The issue of the gold may have been discussed.

Just after that, President Mahama's next official assignment outside Africa was to Turkey, ostensibly to plead for the release of the gold haul on which the government had remained silent.

An earlier enquiry at the Turkish Embassy did not yield further information. In early January, Turkish Ambassador Aydin Nurham could not offer answer but promised that his outfit would investigate the issue.

Reports said that Turkish authorities fined the plane $1,910 upon stopping at Ataturk Airport on grounds of missing documents.

Anatolia News Agency, Turkey’s official news agency, announced that ULS, the cargo owner, would pay $67 for the lack of proper documentation and $1910 for stopping at Ataturk Airport.

The cargo was bound for Iran, where it was to deliver the gold, stopping first at Dubai Airport.

It is believed that US- and EU-backed sanctions against the Iranian banking sector have limited countries’ ability to fulfill their monetary commitments to Iran through bank payments, leading them to barter gold for Iranian oil and gas instead.

Danquah Institute Queries

The Danquah Institute (DI), a pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) think tank, believes that there is something fishy about the whole transaction since it was carried out behind the backs of Ghanaians.

"The 1.5 tons of gold, worth some $80 million, is said to be Ghana's financial commitments to Iran" over a transaction whose details are not known to the public.

“This seemingly curious transaction took place over the election period and at the time of the transition. What is also curious is the choice of the President to travel to Turkey around the time of this unspoken crisis and yet this issue has not featured in any official communication about the presidential trip," the DI said in a statement issued on Sunday, January 27, 2012.

"The question which arises, therefore, is that why would an official transaction involving $80 million worth of gold between the government of the Republic of Ghana and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran lack the proper documentation? If indeed the gold was to settle Ghana's ‘financial commitments"’to Iran, why would it be missing some crucial documentation necessitating its seizure at the Turkish airport?" the DI questioned.

According to DI, no known arrangement between Ghana and Iran require that the country's financial commitments to Iran be paid in gold.

"We are aware of the use of Ghana's cocoa as collateral for the construction of the Bui hydroelectric dam. We are also well aware of the use of Ghana's oil as collateral for the $3billion loan from the China Development Bank," explained the DI.

Mahama Must Answer

The Danquah Institute wants President Mahama to explain to Ghanaians why the country's gold was used to make payments to Iran and why the plane carrying the gold was seized in Turkey for lack of proper documentation.

The government has so far refused to answer any questions relating to this matter since the plane was seized on January 2, 2013, "and the silence from government on a transaction said to involve some $80million is deafening. We at DI are demanding full disclosure of this transaction from government for the benefit of the people of Ghana and in the interest of good governance," charged the institue.

A known allegation against the Islamic Republic of Iran is that the country evades US sanctions by engaging in a barter-trade system where countries with gold, for instance, purchase crude oil from Iran and pay gold in return. However, it is unclear if Ghana has purchased crude from Iran given that the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has not been operational for several months.

According to the DI, from June to November 2012 Iran evaded US sanctions by importing Turkish gold to pay for billions of dollars worth of energy sales to Turkey.

"Ghana has been an oil-producing country since 2011, are Ghanaians aware that we barter with gold with the Islamic Republic of Iran, or any other government for that matter? What is Iran giving Ghana which requires our financial commitments to her be made in gold? Is Ghana's Parliament aware of such a transaction?" the DI asked.