The Institute for Energy Security (IES) has said it is suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the entry of a Russian vessel carrying 600,000 barrels of crude oil into Ghana’s territorial waters and wondered why it was not intercepted as had been earlier threatened by the CEO of the National Petroleum Authority, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid.
The vessel, MT Theseus, gained entry on Friday.
Bloomberg had reported a few days ago that the Russian oil consignment was being stashed in Ghana.
The IES, in a statement, said Planton Gas Oil Ghana Limited, “is the importer, and has requested a crude oil storage space of approximately 80,000 metric tonnes (MT), equivalent to 600,000 barrels from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), after nominating the facility as the discharge destination”.
“The IES can confirm that the vessel in question is presently at the Tema port anchorage and has issued a notice of readiness (NOR) to the importer, awaiting to berth at either the Single Point Mooring (SPM) system or the Tema Oil Jetty for onward discharge into the storage tank(s). The Institute can also confirm that samples of the crude have been taken for laboratory testing by nominated Inspectors and Agents, with the support of staff at the TOR facility”.
The IES says it suspects the importer is fronting.
Read the full IES statement below:
GOVERNMENT MUST COME CLEAR ON THE 600,000 BARRELS RUSSIAN CRUDE OIL ABOARD MT. THESEUS
The Institute for Energy Security (IES) has taken note of a roughly 600,000-barrel crude oil consignment that arrived at the Tema port on Friday 26th February 2023 aboard the vessel MT Theseus, which Bloomberg reports as “Russian Oil to be stashed in Ghana as pool of buyers shrinks”.
Documents intercepted by the IES suggest that Planton Gas Oil Ghana Limited is the importer, and has requested a crude oil storage space of approximately 80,000 metric tonnes (MT), equivalent to 600,000 barrels from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), after nominating the facility as the discharge destination.
The IES can confirm that the vessel in question is presently at the Tema port anchorage and has issued notice of readiness (NOR) to the importer, awaiting to berth at either the Single Point Mooring (SPM) system or the Tema Oil Jetty for onward discharge into storage tank(s).
The Institute can also confirm that samples of the crude has been taken for laboratory testing by nominated Inspectors and Agents, with the support of staffs at the TOR facility.
The IES can also confirm that the vessel is free from any interception and is only awaiting clearance from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to berth and start discharge into TOR’s crude oil tanks.
This, the IES finds as troubling given that a few days ago, NPA, the regulator of the downstream petroleum sector, had given a strong indication that should the MT. Theseus crude oil vessel in question enter Ghana waters, it will cause the interception of the cargo.
Instead, the vessel MT. Theseus sits free, receiving the cooperation of state actors, and is likely to discharge into a national oil facility.
More troubling is the fact that Platon Gas Oil Ghana Ltd processing and distribution capacity is very small for a size of 80,000 MT crude cargo.
The IES finds that between January and December 2022, Platon could process and distribute just 2,849 MT of Residual Fuel Oil (RFO) and Gasoil, representing just 3.6% of the crude oil consignment under discussion.
This raises eyebrows, and the IES is tempted to think that the named receiver of the crude cargo Platon Gas Oil Ltd. is only a frontal.
Ghanaians can recollect that in late December 2022, the Deputy Minister of Energy, Mr Andrew Egyapa Mercer, gave another assurance that the Tema Oil Refinery will commence full operation by the end of February 2023.
Could this crude cargo aboard MT. Theseus be the first parcel of crude for TOR to start full operation, after 2 years of shutdown?
Could this crude oil consignment be an extension of the government’s Gold-for-Oil Programme?
To clear doubts in the minds of Ghanaians and industry watchers, the IES calls on the government to speak and clarify issues surrounding the arrival of the crude vessel into the country.
Government must let Ghanaians know why it failed to block the vessel as suggested by the boss of NPA, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid a few days before the arrival of the cargo.
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