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$60m petroleum depot in Tema undergoing test run

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Storage tanksWork on a $60 million petroleum depot in Tema is near completion  to facilitate the import and distribution of refined petroleum products to help curb shortages of LPG and fuel on the market.

The depot, initiated by the Fuel Trade Limited but operating under the name Tema Fuel Company, is currently under going a test running to check teething problems before full operations start.

With the entry of the privately-owned Ghanaian import and distribution company, it is expected that there would be abundant gas, gasoline and diesel on the market to create competition among distributors.

The company also has a facility in Takoradi, where LPG is discharged directly onto trucks.

Reports indicate that market demands for LPG now stand at 1,100 of gas, 500,000 litres of super (gasoline) and 800,000 litres of diesel, daily.

It was expected that the other bulk distribution companies in the sector would supply the remaining shortfall, which is minimal.

The Daily Graphic found out that some fuel and gas tankers were already loading for distribution as part of its test operations.

The depot has a weekly delivery schedule during which products made up of a  LPG, super and diesel, were delivered  and, therefore, did not foresee any shortage.

The project is near completion and has started test supplies to solve all teething problems on the equipment.

It was gathered that gas from the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) was predominantly  for power generation unless it was separated.

The source said laboratory equipment for that purpose were not  available to provide what could be used for domestic and smaller machines and, therefore, would not be of use to domestic consumers.

When the Daily Graphic got to the depot, some officials from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Customs  Division  and a technical team from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) were checking the pumps on various tanks  to ensure  that they were in good conditions.

The depot has seven tanks with five for fuel, one for water and a mounded bullet tank purposely for LPG.

It also operates six loading bays for gas, gasoline and diesel, with each bay loading 200 tons in an hour.

This system of loading created efficiency  and minimal delays  at the loading bay.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in an interview at the depot, the Technical  and Operations Director,  Mr  Andrews Barfi Owusu, disclosed that the components of the depot were adjustable and the depot could increase its intake when the need arises.

He said the company would not want to create overcapacity  in the system, hence, the gap to enable other bulk distribution companies to take the shortfall.

Mr Owusu noted that the company’s intention was to contribute to government’s  effort  to make available  fuel  and gas to consumers

He said the decision to set up a depot came about when shortages of gas, especially, kept occurring because of the low capacity of existing  distributors .

Mr Owusu said the ‘Tema Fuel Company would be able to satisfy the consumer market  even if TOR shuts down’.

He narrated how clearing of the land started in September 2010 and by April 2013, was ready to start importing fuel and gas for test running.

He said Fuel Trade had, for the last three months, been  experimenting with the computerised systems, equipments, pumps and tanks.

Mr Owusu was optimistic that shortages of fuel would be things of the past.

He noted that there was a collaboration between all bulk distribution companies operating in the sector and said the depot would work closely with the companies to make fuel and gas available on the market.

Mr Owusu said with pride that ‘since when we started test running, there has not been any shortage on the market since May 2013’.

He gave the assurance that TOR, being the mother of distribution, had made its storage facilities available to enable the company store reserves when the need arose.

Source: Daily Graphic

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