(By Fridah Nkonde in Accra, Ghana)
IT IS important for a country to have an oil refinery, says Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Limited Managing Director Isaac Osei.
Zambian journalists were on a capacity building project in the Energy sector in West Africa, with a focus on refineries in the sub-region. The project has been organised by African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARA) and supported by Sahara Group to promote awareness – through the media – about the capacity, expertise, technology, operations, collaborations, challenges and investment opportunities in Africa’s Energy Sector.
Located in Tema, Ghana, TOR was established in 1963 to enhance the country’s economic, investment and development programs.
Crude oil is used as the refinery’s main raw material for production, which is usually imported from neighbouring Nigeria and transferred through pipelines to the refinery storage tanks for processing into several finished products for consumption.
Speaking to Zambian journalists in Accra, Ghana, last week, Osei said the oil sector in Africa was getting better by the day.
“As Africa, we are capable of actually supplying our markets but at the moment, we do not have the capacity to do so. As a result we have to bring in products from all over the world. African countries are now on the move. Things are happening in the oil sector and it’s important…not only because we have to satisfy our domestic markets but it is important for national security also. If there is a major crisis on the international market place, and you don’t have the capacity to refine internally, then you are going to have problems,” Osei said.
“Certainly, your transport sector will break down; planes coming to your country cannot refuel because you don’t have the ATK (aviation fuel) to supply them…so you have critical issues. That is why a refinery is so important that each country, no matter how small should try to have if it makes economic sense.”
He said Sahara Group, one of the five companies shortlisted for the next stage of selecting a strategic partner in Zambia’s Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company Limited, has been supplying crude and oil products to TOR for over 20 years.
“Sahara has been TOR’s partner for over 20 years…since the early days of Sahara’s inception. Sahara is a very strong company. They supply most of those dealing in LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) from their own vessels. It is definitely a preferred company for us. They also provided us in the past with support in other areas like engineering; technical support. So, we believe that it is a good company. For us, it has been a good company to work with and we hope to continue our cooperation with Sahara in the future,” said Osei.