The anticipated delivery of crude oil to the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) yesterday for refining was still uncertain at the time of going to press. This is because the $54 million worth of letters of credit (LCs) so far guaranteed by Ecobank Ghana only cover the cost of 750,000 barrels out of the more than 997,000 barrels of crude brought into the country last Sunday by Sahara Energy.
Source close to TOR, which disclosed the details to the Daily Graphic, were, however, unable to say what would happen to the rest of the consignment of crude if the full cost was not paid.
The sources said another vessel carrying finished products imported into the country by Chase Petroleum had arrived at the Single Point Mooring (SPM) facility near Kpone and had begun unloading its cargo into storage facilities in the Accra Plains Depot.
Although top management officials at the refinery were tight-lipped about the latest development, other sources told the Daily Graphic that the consignment’s delivery, which was expected to have been done yesterday evening, might have to wait till the end of today.
The vessel, ‘Wilhelmina’, which is carrying the 997,000 barrels of crude, has been on anchorage at the Tema Harbour since Sunday waiting to berth for onward delivery, while the consignee agency, Sahara Energy, demands LCs that will serve as guarantee that the crude will be paid for after delivery.
Frantic efforts by the government and TOR management to get Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) to provide the needed guarantee failed following the refinery’s indebtedness to GCB to the tune of about $600 million.
The move saw Ecobank Ghana stepping in to provide the LCs after officials of the Finance and Energy ministries, as well as TOR, on Tuesday had held a hectic 24-hour meeting with the bank, resulting in the $54 million to cover more than 80 per cent of the cargo, leaving the government to look elsewhere for money to settle the remaining 20 per cent.
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