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TOR's distillation plant operational - MD   
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The Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has enough crude stock to process in the next two months and does not anticipate any interruption in supplies during the Christmas and New Year period.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Dr Kwame Ampofo, Managing Director of TOR, debunked media reports that the Refinery had shut down its distillation unit due to lack of crude oil to process.

He explained that the distillation plant was shut down temporarily on December 30 to repair a faulty pump and to create space between processed crude brought in by Ecobank in November and incoming stock.

The unit will be restarted on Monday, December 7, he said.

"I wish to state again that there is no cause for alarm. The Crude Distillation Unit developed a minor problem with one of its pumps, fortunately just at the time that it had finished processing. crude," he said.

He said management took advantage of the situation and stopped the distillation unit to do two things -- repair the pump and ensure some time lag between incoming stock to achieve physical separation of the two parcels and prevent co-mingling of products.

The separation was necessary for accounting purposes, he explained.

Dr Ampofo said staff of the refinery were preparing to discharge 700,000 barrels of crude that had freshly been supplied by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.

"We'll start processing this hopefully on Monday," he said, adding that additional two million barrels of crude was expected later. to augment the stock.

"We're not at all in distress, so there is no need for panic."

He said TOR had a debt overhang of more than $600 million owed to the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), its main creditor and other service providers including crude suppliers.

To help solve the problem, the government in late October appointed Pan African Ecobank to help arrange a syndicated $600 million facility to refinance half of the debt owed to GCB and use the other $300 million to strengthen the refinery's balance sheet.

The Refinery subsequently received its first crude oil in nearly 10 months last month with funding from Ecobank Ghana.

Dr Ampofo said while the refinery had yet to complete its recapitalisation, confidence in the plant's potential profitability had improved.

He said the plant would continue to buy the bulk of its crude oil from the spot market until January, when government-to-government supply deals with Nigeria, Libya and Sudan kick in.
Source: GNA

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