The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company has signed a memorandum of understanding with its counterpart in Burkina Faso — Sonahby — to commence supply of petroleum products into the landlocked country.
The MoU was signed in Bolgatanga by BOST’s CEO, Kwame Awuah Darko, and Sonahby’s CEO Nacro Gambetta Aboubaka, at a ceremony to re-commission BOST’s depot there which had been left idle for some nine years.
According to Kwame Awuah Darko, BOST is only awaiting a fuel export licence from the industry regulator — the National Petroleum Authority — to commence exports in the coming weeks.
“Burkina Faso does about 85,000 to 100,000 tonnes a month. Today, their storage is from tankers moving across Burkina to Cotonou, Lome, Tema or Abidjan. It is not an efficient way. So for them now we are dedicating approximately 25,000 tonnes of storage for both gasoil and gasoline in Bolgatanta for them. That replaces, literally, over 1,800 trucks in terms of their storage capacity,” Awuah Darko told the B&FT.
From the Accra Plains depot through a pipeline to the Akosombo depot, river barges to the Buipe depot in the Northern Region, and another pipeline to the Bolgatanga depot, BOST has the infrastructure in place to service not just the Burkinabe market but also the Malian and other markets in the Sahelian region.
“This facility is the northernmost connected depot in the entire West Africa, and for us at BOST it represents the jewel in the crown of our infrastructure because of its export potential into the Sahelian market at the lowest cost and lowest price,” Awuah Darko said.
Indeed, when the Buipe depot was built in the 1990s the idea was to service the Burkinabe market. The Burkinabes had said they wanted to build a pipeline between Buipe and Bingo in that country, but could not get the project off the ground.
The government of Ghana therefore decided to build a 267 kilometre pipeline from the Buipe depot to another depot in Bolgatanta.
But for nine years the northern corridor infrastructure saw no activity and the Burkinabe continued to drive tankers all the way to Tema to draw a bit of their fuel needs, while they mostly relied on Ivory Coast and other ports.
The Burkinabe market has also been serviced heavily by a vibrant fuel smuggling market along the border at Bolgatanga.
Interior Minister Mark Wayongo, who was at the event in Bolgatanga, said he is “unofficially” told that the region takes more fuel than Accra…although it does not have as many vehicles.
He expressed concern about fuel smuggling activities there which could thwart the efforts of BOST.
The BOST CEO appealed for the NPA to “designate all exports of petroleum products out of Ghana into Burkina Faso and Mali to be done from the Bolgatanga Depot”, to reduce the situation where products from Tema meant for those countries find their way back into the Ghanaian market without the appropriate taxes being paid.