Tema Oil Refinery

From Oil4All
Jump to: navigation, search


Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) is the only crude oil refinery in Ghana.[1] The refinery is located in the industrial city of Tema, 24 kilometres from Accra. Launched in 1960, it was first named the Ghanaian Italian Petroleum Company (GHAIP).[2] In 1977, the Government of Ghana became the sole shareholder; the name of the refinery was changed to the Tema Oil Refinery in 1991.[2]

In 1997 Phase 1 of a modernisation project was completed and the crude distillation unit was revamped from 28,000 barrels per day to 45,000 barrels per day.[2] However during the start-up following the upgrade a major fire broke out, and the refinery was closed for about nine months.[3] In 2000 the construction of the residual fluid catalytic cracker commenced with a processing capacity of 14,000 bspd – it came into operation in 2002.[2]


Ghana started commercial production of crude oil on the Jubilee Field in December, 2010.[4] As of December 2011, the installation was processing 80,000 barrels of high grade, sweet light crude oil daily.[5] There has been debate as to whether TOR has the capacity to refine the crude oil coming from the Jubilee Field[6]. Sources within the industry such as the Deputy Minister of Energy, and a petroleum engineer from Tullow Oil, have suggested that since TOR was built to process lower grade crudes, it cannot refine oil from the new local fields unless significant investment is made; the retrofit required to adapt TOR to the high quality crude would cost around US$1 billion.[7]

However, other commentators have refuted such claims. The Public Affairs Manager of TOR said “The Jubilee Oil falls within the kinds of crude that (TOR) can refine. The Jubilee Oil is the best stock of raw material that the refinery can use for its refining processes, so it is not accurate to say that TOR does not have the technical capabilities. If we bought the crude today, we could refine it today”.[6] This viewpoint has been corroborated by leading figures such as Dr Akabzaa, a senior geology lecturer at the University of Ghana, and Dr Manteaw, from the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.[6]

Feedstock Problems

The Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) had variable production figures in 2011 – with a number of reported cases of operations being suspended on its main crude distillation unit after running out of feedstock.[8] [9] [10] The refinery cited an unreliable supply as the reason for the feedstock problems.[8]


  1. "Tema Oil Refinery" Ghana Business Index, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "History" Tema Oil Refinery, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  3. "Oil Refining in Ghana" Mbendi Information Services, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  4. "Ghana’s big test: Oil’s challenge to democratic development" Oxfam America, 2009.
  5. "As Ghana pours oil for one year – an overview" Ghana Business News, 16 December 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "TOR Must Refine Jubilee Oil" Vibe Ghana 16 December 2012.
  7. "Tema Oil Refinery Cannot Refine Jubilee Oil" Ghana Web, retrieved 12 February 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Tema Oil Refinery Shuts - Main Unit Runs Out of Crude" Ghana Business News, retrieved 14 February 2012.
  9. "Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Needs Revival" Ghana Oil Watch, retrieved 14 February 2012.
  10. "Ghana’s Tema Oil Refinery Runs Out of Oil" ESI Africa, retrieved 14 February 2012.