By Stephen Odoi-Larbi
The Government has announced that it is in touch with PetroSaudi, seeking for a joint venture arrangement to revive the ailing Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
Deputy Minister for Energy and Petroleum, John Jinapor, who announced this on the floor of Parliament yesterday, said the agreement when reached would see the Arabian firm plug the inefficiencies that has engulfed TOR.
"Tema Oil Refinery is not working at full capacity due to its operational inefficiency and the inability to establish letter of credit for purchase of crude oil.
"That is the reason why government has been facilitating the Joint Venture arrangement with Petro Saudi to fix the inefficiencies and ensure consistent supply of crude oil", he noted.
Mr. Jinapor had appeared in Parliament to represent the substantive Minister at the instance of the Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, to answer to a question posed by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Talensi, Robert Nachinab Doameng Mosore, on "whether Tema Oil Refinery is operating at full or maximum capacity".
TOR has for some time now not been operating due to the shutdown of its Crude Distillation Unit (CDU). The refinery, as announced by the deputy minister, has failed to obtaine letters of credit (LC) from its bankers to purchase crude oil for production. Junior staff of the refinery, in July, 2014, called on President Mahama to help save the company which was running on daily losses of GHc350,000 due to the shutdown of the CDU.
Mr. Jinapor also took turn to address a question asked by the MP for Afigya Kwabre South, William Owuraku Aidoo on "what is accounting for the current power outages in the country and exactly when would the outages end".
The deputy Minister attributed the power outages to erratic gas supply from the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project, shut down of plants for planned and unplanned maintenance and low water inflow into the Bui and Akosombo reservoirs.
He said the Ministry was working closely with the thermal power generators to ensure that "these plants return into service as soon as possible to reduce the deficit in power generation".
"In addition, it is expected that following the completion of the TICO Expansion Project (110 MW) by the first quarter of 2015, the deficit in power generation will be reduced to the minimum or even eliminated.
To avoid the recurrence of the power outages, Mr. Jinapor said the Ministry was in the process of bringing into the country a power-ship of 450MW capacity which would be in operation by the second quarter of 2015.
On the issue of erratic gas supply, he said the government was in talks with Nigeria to ensure the flow of more gas to power the thermal plants. Besides that, he said gas has started flowing to the Aboadze Thermal Plant on commissioning basis.