- 87mmt as against 4.4mmt in 2016
Petroleum imports for last year, decreased to 3.87 million metric tonnes (mmt) from 4.4mmt. in 2016, the 2017 Petroleum Downstream Report by the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD) has revealed.
The decline, the report mentioned, was largely due to a fall in imports of LPG products and crude for both power generation and refining.
Crude imports were almost non-existent last year, as the country’s main refinery, Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) was held back by mechanical failures; it has however resumed operations this year.
Out of 64 licensed bulk distribution companies (BDCs), only 34 imported substantial products in 2017.
Of the remaining 30, the imports of 15 companies were not even equivalent to the standard single cargo size of 30kt (kiloton), while 15 licensed companies were totally inactive.
The situation, the Chamber’s CEO, Mr. Senyo Hosi, explained, further legitimizes efforts to rationalize the industry to ensure that licenses deliver value to the economy.
He expressed worries that the largest importer in 2016, BOST, dropped to fourth position after a fall in imports from 1.93mmt from the previous year to 0.367mmt in 2017.
“That was because BOST was entangled in debt from import activities in 2015 and 2016. The accrued debt compelled traders to withdraw their open account facilities and demand payment,” he said.
The removal of indirect subsidies by the Finance Ministry further exposed inefficiencies in BOST trading activities as there were no funds to partly cushion growing losses.
Mr. Hosi explained that the decision to have GoEnergy to represent government in the bulk oil trade instead of BOST, yielded little.
“Despite being the largest distributor in 2017, GoEnergy maintained the anomaly of not being amongst the top 10 importers. The company opted to procure products ex-rack/in-tank Ghana from other BDCs and international traders, instead of importing.
Fueltrade replaced BOST as the largest importer, bringing in products amounting to 688,658mt, representing 18 percent of total imports last year.
Major private importers for 2017 included Juwel Energy, Cirrus Oil, Blue Ocean, Ebony and Chase Petroleum.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe