In October 2013 when Kwame Awuah Darko took over as MD of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company, the strategic national asset was said to have become operationally ‘anaemic’, with most of its storage and pipeline infrastructure in a state of idleness.
Bulk Oil Distributors (BDCs) had suspended storing their products in BOST facilities due to the latter’s inability to properly account for products it stored on their behalf.
Mr. Awuah Darko also recounts that income from storage and rack fees or throughput revenue had collapsed and the company was saddled with a debt stock of over US$197million, with GH¢123million in interest on the company’s debt as well as forex loans in excess of GH¢141million per annum.
On the night of December 23, 2015 at an end of year review, however, Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah was full of praise for the Awuah Darko administration that hit the ground running with a 24-month turnaround strategy, and lived up to same by and large.
“The institution that had the simple task of ensuring basically that we have strategic stocks of petroleum products suddenly became a burden on government. We are very proud that today that has all gone away completely because of the leadership we are seeing,” the minister said.
Management of the company indicate that five of its terminals — Accra Plains, Akosombo, Kumasi, Buipe and Bolgatanga — which had collapsed, are not only operational now “but have recorded two straight years of operating with product gains” amounting to GH¢8,400,000 in 2014, and GH¢3,100,000 by quarter-three 2015.
At the re-commissioning of the 36,000tonne capacity Bolga depot on October 12, 2015, Awauh-Darko announced that BOST’s 267-kilometre pipeline between the Buipe and Bolgatanta depots had also been revived.
In the process, he said, some 8.2million litres was recovered from 9million litres of fuel which had been sitting in the pipeline for nine years.
“The successful restoration of BOST facilities has enabled the company to return to its core mandate of maintaining strategic fuel stocks across the country from Tema to Akosombo, Kumasi to Buipe, and to Bolgatanga,” Awauh-Darko said at the review meeting.
“BOST today, as we speak, is holding above the minimum stock requirement which is six weeks of National Petroleum consumption. BOST is also servicing a core number of BDCs which are in turn supplying the Oil Marketing Companies. Most importantly, BOST is doing so not only efficiently but also profitably,” he added.
For the year 2016, Mr. Awuah-Darko reminded his staff of the need “to build on our five pillars” by completing restoration of the Mami Water Depot, which is the last of six depots the company owns — further reducing the company’s debt — and to continue building more infrastructure.
“In that regard, 2016 will see the development of Greenfield infrastructure projects — including a terminal in Pumpuni in the Western Region to service the market as well serve as an export hub to the international market; development will also begin on the Brahabebome terminal in the Ashanti Region. Pipeline infrastructure to support these terminals will be between Brahabebome and Kumasi, and Buipe,” Awuah-Darko said.
The company has also been tasked by government to build, own and operate all onshore natural gas infrastructure in the country, to which end the Energy Commission has issued it with a Natural Gas Transmission Utility licence.
To actualise this mandate, Awuah-Darko noted, the company has in the last twelve months secured financing for the build-out of the network and has done a tender for the front-end engineering design of the project.
The company has also completed the design of a new head office complex, a facility that boasts a seven-storey twin tower with total coverage of 8,000m². Construction, according to Awauh-Darko, will begin this quarter and finish in 18 months.