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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mills Oil Fails To Arrive

Dr Kwabena Donkor
FOR THE umpteenth time, the crude oil promised by the Mills-led government has woefully failed to materialize. The country was scheduled to take delivery of crude oil from Nigeria to arrest the acute shortage of petroleum products in the country

About two weeks ago, the government boasted that it had successfully clinched a deal with a Nigerian company for the supply of 750,000 barrels of crude oil. The consignment was due to arrive in the country on Wednesday October 7, 2009.

However, DAILY GUIDE has learnt that, the ship, which the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) acting Chief Executive, Dr. Kwame Ampofo claimed would bring the crude from Nigeria, is still docked at the NNPC jetty with no crude.

Attempting to respond to the acute shortage of petrol and other oil products in the country, Deputy Energy Minister, Kwabena Donkor, at a rushed press conference in Accra promised that plans were far afoot to arrest the situation.

At the said press conference which was attended by officials of TOR, led by its acting CEO, Dr. Ampofo, Dr. Donkor categorically noted that the country was due to receive a consignment of 750,000 barrels of crude oil from a Nigerian company on October 7, 2009.

Giving assurance that the country would not experience any shortage of petrol and other oil products again, the Deputy Energy Minister stated that after the first consignment, other consignments of huge quantities would be supplied to the country by the company every two weeks.

Speaking on National Agenda, a programme on Kumasi-based radio station, Ash FM, hosted by Alhaji Inusah, Dr. Ampofo however disclosed that the crude oil did not arrive as promised.

When asked why the consignment failed to arrive as promised, Dr. Ampofo responded that he was not in the position to tell, explaining that in the shipping industry a lot of uncertainties do occur.

Stressing that his outfit was yet to find out why the consignment failed to arrive on the appointed date, the acting TOR CEO sincerely apologized to the populace for the failure of the crude oil to arrive in the country as promised.

He however stated how confident he was that the crude oil would finally arrive, and that after the arrival of the first consignment, regular supplies would be made. He however could not give an exact date, explaining that he could not stick his neck out there.

“I can’t tell exactly when the crude oil will arrive, but I’m optimistic that it will surely come”, the acting TOR CEO noted calmly.

Dr. Ampofo disclosed that engineers were working hard around the clock to ensure that TOR comes back to life so that it could refine the crude when it finally arrives.

The country has been hit with an acute shortage of petrol, gas and other oil products due to the inability of the government to import crude oil for TOR to refine.

According to reports, the government, instead of importing crude oil has contracted oil companies including Chess, Touris, Bulk and Ship to import refined oil, which is by far more expensive than crude, into the country for use.

Experts say the development is not only draining the government because it requires more money to import the refined oil, it is depriving the country of the supply of gas and bitumen, which are by-products of crude.

With the inability of the crude oil to arrive as promised, indications are that the acute shortage of petrol and other oil products will persist for now.

Both President Atta Mills and Vice President John Dramani’s previous attempts to secure oil from Nigeria and Libya have failed to yield results in spite of their visits to the two countries.

From Morgan Owusu, Kumasi/Daily Guide

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