The Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) is said to have taken delivery of the first crude oil produced from the Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) project to be refined and sold on the Ghanaian market.

The one million barrels of crude, the understands is currently secured in the storage tanks of TOR waiting to be refined upon completion of ongoing routine maintenance works which are currently underway at the facility.

The Managing Director of TOR, Kwame Awuah Darko disclosed this when he addressed staff of the company at the end of year thanksgiving ceremony in Tema, thanking the staff of TOR for their commitment to reviving the refinery which almost collapsed.

The news comes after stakeholders had earlier rejected TOR’s ability to refine crude from Ghana’s Jubilee and TEN Oil Fields.

The reason for TOR’s inability to refine the crude was attributed to the fact that, crude oil from these fields were of premium quality, described internationally as “Sweet Light Oil,” and requires a refinery built to specification to be able to refine it, with the opposers insisting that, if TOR had to refine the crude then it must be retrofitted.

But the refinery according to Mr Awauh Darko was currently in a position to refine crude oil from the Ghanaian oil fields after some expansion and repair works was done and is expected to scale up the refinery of crude to between 16 to 18 million barrels of crude oil in 2017.

“if at the beginning of the year someone had said TOR would be able to refine 7 million barrels of crude oil we will have said that is not true, considering the state of the refinery at the time but we did that and as we speak we have secured the first batch of crude also from the TEN project, which is sitting in our tanks to be refined our maintenance works which are ongoing.”

According to him, the expansion projects carried out by TOR should translate into refining the increased quantities of crude.

“The plan the company has in place is to make sure that in 2017 February, we go through our turnaround maintenance and because of the expanded capacity we now have we are planning to refine between 16 and 18 million barrels of crude oil in 2017. We are going to be in a place which I believe will be a much stronger place by virtue of the foundation that we have laid,” he added.

This comes as good news to the workers of TOR who have since Ghana began oil production fought the government asking them to be allowed to refine Ghana’s crude oil.

The workers have among other things argued that refining the nation’s crude abroad is not cost effective.

Mr Awuah Darko who assumed office about a year ago in his remarks again to the staff of TOR expressed his appreciation to all and urged them to collaborate with management especially should a new person be appointed to take over as the head of the refinery.

“I am very sure that this is the very last time I will address you as a Managing Director hence change has come and when that change comes, we must all support that change and work accordingly.”