Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), has vehemently criticized the government’s decision to lease the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to Torentco Asset Management.
Boakye said that the deal raises red flags because it was not done through a competitive bidding process.
During an interview on Eyewitness News on June 21, Mr. Boakye expressed concerns about Torentco’s lack of experience in the petroleum industry.
“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”.
He stressed, “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. 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 hold them accountable? They don’t have any track record of dealing in petroleum businesses”.
However, the Senior Staff Union of TOR in a statement said Torentco is the only viable option available to bring back TOR into operation since successive governments are hesitant to inject capital into its operations.
The refinery will be leased to Torentco Asset Management Group for $22 million for 6 years and is expected to refine up to 8 million barrels annually.