IN line with the envisaged oil industry in the country, Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), has planned a major expansion programme to raise its processing capacity from 45,000 to 145,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
The project, which is slated to start late this year, will take 18 months to complete and will cost about US$200 million.
Dr Kofi K. Sarpong, Chief Executive of TOR, who announced this here last Wednesday, said this will position the refinery to add other products like bitumen to the already existing products like petrol, liquefied petroleum gas, aviation fuel, gas oil and provide employment for more Ghanaians.
He was speaking at a public lecture on the topic: “Ghana’s oil find – A Curse or a Blessing” organised by the Tema Chapter of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Alumni Association.
The lectures are designed to promote, debate and to educate its members and the general public on pertinent issues.
Dr Sarpong called for a concerted effort to ensure that Ghanaians were trained to manage the oil resources to the benefit of all.
He called on government not to only concentrate on the oil industry but to use part of the oil revenue to revamp other sectors of the economy to enhance accelerated industrialisation.
Dr Sarpong suggested the establishment of an oil reserve fund for future generations since oil is not a renewable resource.
“There is also the need to find alternative employment for people who will lose their jobs as a result of exploitation and accommodation for those who will be displaced,” he said.
Dr K. K. Sarpong said the environment should be effectively managed so that oil exploitation, will not bring untold hardships to the people.
Mr Kwesi Pratt, Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, in his contribution wondered how the exploitation of oil could improve the living conditions of the people, saying “the mining of gold and diamond for instance has brought about deprivation and pollution of water sources in places like Obuasi, Akwatia and surrounding areas”.
He asked, “What is the guarantee that we are going to handle oil differently from gold and other mineral resources?”.
Mr Pratt called for eradication of corruption which he said was endemic in the society “so that oil revenue will not be used to finance the vulgar opulence of our leaders like it happened in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea”.
He raised concerns about Ghana’s ability to police its oil resource citing the case where a Filipino Ship stole a whole tanker loaded with oil from the Saltpond oil field in the recent past.
He suggested that the Ghana Armed Forces should be empowered to protect the country’s oil resource.
Mr Robert K. Poku Kyei, Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said expected revenue from the oil find would play a major catalytic role in the country’s achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.