The Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) has raised concerns about the lease agreement negotiations between Torentco and the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
ACEP revealed that Torentco, a newly established local Ghanaian company formed in January 2023, lacks the track record in the petroleum business and does not have the capacity to effectively take over TOR.
“This is a new local Ghanaian company formed here in Ghana in January 2023, with no track record. If they fail to deliver, how do you hold them accountable? They don’t have any track record of dealing in petroleum businesses,” Mr Boakye stressed.
Mr. Boakye also emphasized the importance of a transparent and competitive bidding process to ensure that the best option is chosen, rather than solely relying on the assumption that TOR is not profitable.
“In the last year alone, I have seen many companies interested in taking over the asset [TOR]. So open it up, be transparent about it, ask everybody who is interested and say I want $1 million, or I don’t want money, who wants it, and what will you give me in return? And then you have bids that you can compare and choose the best out. The public will be interested in how you do it and agree with the process or disagree with it”.
“You just select someone because you think TOR is not making money and just give the company out in a manner that they are doing, I think raises a lot of red flags and even raises concerns about whether the barest minimum being promised can be delivered. We don’t trace them to any serious company that we can be comfortable with and say we know this reputable company is behind it and for anything at all you can call or shame them.”
However, the Senior Staff Union of TOR countered these concerns, stating that Torentco is the only viable option available to revive the refinery, as successive governments have been hesitant to invest capital into its operations.
Under the lease agreement, Torentco Asset Management Group will pay $22 million to lease the Tema Oil Refinery for a period of six years. The company is expected to refine up to 8 million barrels annually.