General News of Thursday, 12 April 2007
The Tema Oil Refinery will shut its 45,000 barrel per day crude distillation unit (CDU) for planned maintenance during the first week of July, its managing director said on Thursday.
Ghana's main oil refinery, which comprises the CDU and a 14,000 barrel per day catalytic cracker, meets 80 to 85 percent of Ghana's oil product demand.
"We have programmed one week of maintenance this year on some specific equipment, that will be in July. The CDU will be closed," said managing director, Kofi Sarpong.
Last year, the cracker was shut for 10 weeks for routine maintenance while the CDU was also shut for four weeks for routine works.
Poor rainfall has meant Ghana, which relies on hydroelectric power for the bulk of its power needs, has been beset by chronic power shortages since September.
But these power cuts have had very little impact on Tema, which generates 80 percent of its own power, said Sarpong.
Further repairs of existing generators should mean that Tema will be able to generate all its own power by the middle of next year, he said.
Little progress has been made in the oft-touted plans for privatisation and expansion of the refinery, under which Tema would be able to meet all Ghana's needs and capture a larger share of the West African fuels market.
"It is a combined privatisation and expansion. Very soon, the government will appoint a transaction adviser," Sarpong said.
Last year, Ghana approached two South Korean companies, SK Corp and Samsung Corp to discuss the sale of a stake in the refinery.
West Africa's refined petrol products needs are met by imports and a handful of regional oil refineries.