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22.10.2008 Business & Finance

NPA to assess impact of oil prices

By gna

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) will on November 1 assess the full impact of the government's intervention in freezing domestic petroleum prices before announcing any review.

NPA, which has the responsibility to determine the Maximum Indicative Prices for petroleum products, decided to keep prices at their current levels even in the face of rising crude oil hikes.

Energy Minister Felix Owusu-Agyapong said the effect of the move was that between May 3 and August 31, there had been under-recovery claims by the Tema Oil Refinery and other oil trading companies, totalling 162.7 million dollars.

"Consumers should therefore begin to see some relief in the very near future when the NPA has finished its evaluation of the situation taking into account the losses that TOR and other oil traders may have incurred and the trends with the exchange rate," he said.

The government, the Minister said, would continue to monitor the effect of the crude prices on the economy as a whole, taking into account all options available under the circumstances without sacrificing the overall national interest.

Mr Owusu-Agyapong, who was speaking at the Meet the Press series, said on Tuesday national demand for petroleum products had increased steadily from 1.6 million metric tons annually to over 2.1 million metric tons per year in 2007, representing an annual increase of 8.7 per cent.

To meet the growing demand, he said, the Tema Oil Refinery was working towards expanding its capacity from the current 45,000 barrels per stream day to 145,000 barrels per stream day.

Touching on the oil discovery, Mr Owusu-Agyapong said government's intention was to put in place the right institutional framework to ensure the judicious development and exploitation of the country's oil and gas resources.

In this direction, the National Petroleum Oversight Authority Bill has been prepared by the Attorney General's Department for presentation to Parliament.

The Bill, when passed, would provide the necessary institutional blueprints for the proper management of the oil and gas resources of the country.

The Minister underscored the importance of research and development to accelerated growth of the energy sector and said the Ministry of Energy was collaborating with educational institutions to build the requisite human resource capacity for oil and gas and solar energy technology development.