Accra, Ghana — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 09 September 2011 – Ghana’s 45,000 barrel-per-day state-run Tema oil refinery is likely restart by next week on condition that a cargo of Nigerian crude oil arrives in the country on time.
“We are working around the clock to get crude oil for the plant “’ the chances are 50-50 it will be this week, but I can confidently say we will have stock by next week,” refinery managing director Ato Ampiah told Reuters.
The refinery’s main crude distillation unit was closed down when feedstock ran out about two weeks ago, two sources with knowledge of the plant’s operations revealed to Reuters.
Ghana is Africa’s newest crude oil exporter, after starting up its offshore Jubilee field, but the country’s sole refinery in Tema requires upgrades to be able to run the domestically produced oil, and generally relies on imports from Nigeria.
“We have not had a smooth production in the past months “’ today there is crude, tomorrow there is no crude “’ it’s been an off-and-on situation since the beginning of the year, and it’s getting worse,” the source added.
The Tema refinery has been hobbled by repeated shortages in available crude since 2008, when its main lender, Ghana Commercial Bank cut off support due to unpaid debts. Ghana’s government repaid the debt earlier this year.