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14.02.2005 Business & Finance

No Price Hikes From Budget

By BUSINESS & FINANCIAL TIMES
Officials from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) have disclosed that the refinery currently holds a record six-week crude oil stock to cushion the country against any sudden shortfalls in supply. The refinery is, therefore, at a loss as to why some petrol stations should experience shortages.
This revelation comes in the wake of alleged hoarding of petroleum products by some oil marketing companies (OMCs), who are presumably anticipating price hikes after the budget is read.
TOR has increased quantities of normal petroleum lifting in recent times to correspond with demands. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that Government will not be the body to fix new petroleum prices. As such the action by the OMCs is uncalled for.
TOR's record six-week stock was partly boosted by the recent imports of crude oil made by private oil marketing companies (OMCs) under the deregulated oil sector.
In December 2004, about eight OMCs won bids to import crude oil worth more than $100 million into the country. By March this year, the next tender will be opened for prospecting OMCs to bid for the first consignment of quarterly imports of crude oil.
Experts attribute this development to what can so far be referred to as successful transition in the petroleum sector.
Analysts forecast that the deregulated petroleum sector will be the largest single free market enterprise under the trade liberalisation scheme, which will see the exit of state dominated monopoly.


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