TOR Workers Speak

Workers of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) have expressed concern over the irregular supply of crude oil to the refinery, a situation which has negatively affected the running of its equipment. They have, therefore, appealed to the government to ensure the regular supply of crude oil to avoid constant shutdowns of the refinery. Presenting the concerns of the workers, the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of TOR, Mr Daniel Fugar, said the workers were not happy about the constant shortage of crude oil for the refinery to operate. For instance, the reactor where the actual chemical process took place could not operate very well in the face of frequent shutdowns. Mr Fugar said the refinery�s stock would last for one month but was hopeful that the government would assist to raise letters of credit for crude imports. He stated that at full capacity, the refinery would need one million barrels of crude at the cost of $120 million in one month but noted that �TOR cannot raise that money�. He said the refinery could only rely on the banks for the necessary help and appealed to the government to make the company viable this time round. On the increase of the managing director�s (MD�s) salary, Mr Fugar said once the MD�s salary was determined by the government, the workers would not know about it but confirmed that they had heard about the increase in the media. �It will be just proper for us to also demand our share,�� he said, adding that it was too early to comment on it now. Efforts to get the MD of TOR, Mr Ato Ampiah, to speak to the issues raised by the workers were not successful. Meanwhile, speaking on Joy FM, Mr Ampiah said the refinery was expected to start refining 30,000 barrels of crude oil a day when its operations began by the middle of next month. He said measures had been instituted to ensure that the refinery remained viable after resumption of its operations. Mr Ampiah also said with full cost recovery and proper investment, the refinery would operate at full capacity. The state refinery last month secured $30 million from the government for its plant sustainability and profit enhancement programme. The TOR debt currently stands at $350 million after the government managed to clear almost a billion Ghana cedis in the past four years. It currently requires about $650 million for its day-to-day operations. A senior official at the Maintenance Section, Mr Albert Pinto, also confirmed that work was almost complete for the plant to start operations. Mr Pinto, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Tema Council of Labour, noted that the government would need to seriously consider redeeming the refinery in its entirety because of its life span. He was of the view that one of the challenges that the workers could foresee was the breakdown of equipment and called for regular supply of crude oil to run the plant. He stated that the maintenance work was done by workers themselves without any foreign expert. Mr Pinto said the refinery had, through its internally generated funds, increased the capacity of the plant from 28,000 barrels to 45,000 barrels a day.