IES cautions of fuel crisis over unit shutdown at Tema Oil Refinery
The Institute of Energy Security (IES) wants the government to intervene and get the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) back to work.
The IES believes this will largely be resolved with the strengthening of the leadership of the facility.
TOR has seen numerous setbacks in its operations with the recent being its Crude Distillation Unit (CDU).
The Unit which commenced operations on 2nd January this year had to undergo a forced-shutdown on the 18th of January due to non-compliance with procedures and practices.
In an interview with Citi Business News, the Principal Research Analyst at the IES Richmond Rockson said the Energy Ministry must address the leadership issues at TOR to avert any further crises.
“Last year, there was an explosion at TOR and we called on the energy ministry and government to pay particular attention. Indeed this year we have had the same challenge again. Maintenance which was supposed to take three months has taken nine months. We still have not seen the report on the furnace explosion. Looking at all the events happening, we are calling on the ministry of energy to pay particular attention to Tema Oil Refinery otherwise we will be making losses,” he argued.
In 2017, the refinery suffered an incident that destroyed property and nearly took away lives of the refinery workers.
Mr Rockson also raised the issue of the poor state of the stabilizer reboiler.
According to him, “As a practice, every maintenance work should have been concluded with a Post-turnaround report to validate the integrity of the major parts and components. From post start-up developments, it is clear that the integrity of the Plant’s major parts were not established before the rush start-up.
Two weeks after the startup, a leakage was detected in the Stabilizer reboiler (heat-exchanger E-19), forcing the CDU to go a week without stabilization”.
The statement further highlighted the poor state and structuring of the CDU at TOR.
“Normally, when crude oil is fed into the CDU, it should take about 4 hours to warm up, break circulation at 200°C and attain transfer temperature at 345°C for distillation to begin. And anything beyond 4 to 5 hours distorts the crude’s yield pattern. Strangely, it took about one week to stabilize the plant for optimum distillation, causing Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to mix with Naphtha; leading to loss of 280,000 litres of LPG.”
“Subsequently, the plant was forced to shut down due to excessive pressure rapturing the Residue Air Cooler (EA64), adding to the financial loss caused the country as a result of last year’s explosion” it explained.