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Crude Oil Lands

Kwabena Donkor

Kwabena Donkor

Even before  the start of a two-week ultimatum from the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL) and the Local Union of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to the Mills Administration to supply the refinery with crude oil,  over 100,000 metric tonnes of crude oil has arrived from Nigeria, courtesy of Sahara Oil.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that a ship-load of crude oil from the Nigerian city of Warri berthed at Tema Port yesterday to douse the rising tension at the refinery and the heightened embarrassment the government had been subjected to, including the call for heads to roll in the oil sector.

President John Evans Atta Mills last Thursday quickly dashed to TOR to engage the staff of the refinery in a face-to-face discussion, after which he assured them of the supply of crude oil.  However, the President was clever this time around not to give a timeline, especially when previous delivery dates had failed woefully.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that having failed to fulfill previous promises to deliver crude to the refinery, the government was ready to deal with any oil broker who would supply crude to TOR, hence turning attention to Sahara to break the jinx which had characterized the supply of crude oil since this government took over.

The arrival of yesterday’s consignment resulted from a temporary arrangement government had put in place to ensure regular supply of crude oil ahead of the government-to-government deal. Deputy Energy Minister, , intimated that government was ready to raise Letters of Credit (LC) for the supply of the product to TOR.

With this latest development, senior government officials connected to the oil import will heave a sigh of relief, especially in the face of threats of industrial action by TOR staff, backed by TDCL.  The unions had issued an ultimatum at a meeting held between the two bodies on Friday, a day after the President had met and interacted with workers of TOR.

Speaking at a press briefing on behalf of both the senior and junior staff unions, Bernard A. Entsiwah, Chairman of the Senior Staff Union of TOR noted that the workers of TOR were hopeful that within the two weeks, the government would be able to bring in crude oil since such promises had been made to them before in the past.

He said it was about time the issue of TOR was tackled without political coloration as that was slowly killing the company, thus resulting in huge financial loss to the state.  He said, “In as much as we the workers at TOR will not do anything to mar the name of any government in power, we do not expect any government to mar our work either.

“The expensive and extensive first-class maintenance work on the equipment which was air-lifted into the country will rust if within two weeks we do not get oil to run the plants, and that would mean Ghana has lost all its investment,” Mr. Entsiwah remarked.

He stated that premix fuel would be in short supply in the coming weeks, as TOR has a limited stock, thus envisaging the long queues the fisher-folks would have to form to purchase the little that might be hoarded by black market operators.

He said, “It is for this serious and painful reason that we are giving the government the two-week ultimatum to act or Ghana will go through what Zimbabwe went through recently, where workers trekked to and from work due to an acute shortage of fuel.”

He noted that Ghana could be a net exporter of oil should TOR be made self-sufficient, adding that some years ago, TOR was exporting Liquefied Petroleum (LP) Gas to some countries in the sub-region.

The Union Chairman of senior staff advised politicians to be circumspective in their speech and appreciate the plight of the Ghanaian worker who put them in the positions they find themselves in.  Taking his turn to address the gathering, Secretary General of Trades Union Congress (TUC), Kofi Asamoah, expressed his satisfaction at the collective efforts the TDCL and the TOR workers’ union had embarked on to press home their demands which he said was healthy and the right of every Ghanaian worker.

Source: modernghana.com

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