Senator Musilu Obanikoro, Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana has advised the government of Ghana not to prioritize activities of foreign oil companies over the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) when the production of oil begins in the country.
Senator Obanikoro said there was no doubt that TOR was very handy in refining crude oil both for local consumption and exportation.
He gave the advice on Tuesday when he paid a working visit to the refinery to learn about its operations as well as to strengthen relations between the two countries.
He noted that with the experience of refining crude oil, Ghana would have an added advantage when it joins the Oil Producing Countries (OPCs) stating that “experience gain through refining is as good as producing oil.”
Senator Obanikoro further said the authorities must create a platform for TOR management to give advice on the exploration of the country's oil, based on their encounters with OPCs.
The Nigerian High Commissioner also called for proper management of the country's oil, noting that, due to mismanagement Nigeria has lost the position of the largest oil producer in Africa to Angola, even though it still has the capacity to produce large quantities of oil.
He asked for collaboration between TOR and the three Nigerian refineries to properly serve West Africa, noting that, the refineries must see themselves as partners instead of competitors.
The Senator and his entourage later toured the 440,000 square meters refinery.
Dr Kofi Kodua Sarpong, Chief Executive Officer of TOR, who briefed the team before the tour, said the refinery was planning to expand its operations to increase production from the current 45,000 barrels a day to 150,000 barrels.
Dr Sarpong said an estimated amount of 250 million dollars would be needed for the expansion.
He named Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Petrol, kerosene, diesel and Aviation Turbine Kerosene as some of the refinery's products, adding that, between 60,000 and 70,000 barrels of fuel are consumed locally.
He said the construction of a hospital as part of it's cooperate responsibility would also be undertaken at the cost of two million Ghana cedis.
Dr Sarpong again indicated that the refinery would collaborate with other refineries to share technical knowledge under its refinery development programmes.