One major reason why Ghana continues to grapple with irregular crude oil supply could possibly be to the abrogation of government contracts with Sahara Oil, which has been a major supplier in times past, industry players suspect.
The Nigerian oil company, Sahara Energy Resources, until the Mills’ administration assumed office, was the sole supplier of crude oil to the Volta River Authority (VRA), the national power generator, since 2002, after winning successive competitive bids.
The Chief Executive of VRA, Mr. Kweku Andoh Awotwe, confirmed to The Chronicle in a telephone interview that the Authority had since ended its contract with Sahara, and had thus contracted British Petroleum (BP) to lift crude oil for the VRA on a short term basis.
According to Mr. Kweku Andoh, a fresh tender for the supply of crude oil for VRA’s operation was put up and BP won the bid.
He said a Commission of Enquiry was yet to fully complete its work on a review process initiated last year to scrutinise previous’ contracts the Authority had with Sahara oil.
He explained that the part of the review, which had to do with crude oil arrangements, had already been completed, and that the second part, which borders on shipping arrangements, was still under review, because the committee had some difficulties getting all the documents on the shipping arrangements.
He was however optimistic that that the final work of the committee would be completed in the next few weeks.
The VRA Board, in the latter part of 2009, suspended all previous tender process initiated by the Kufuor administration, pending the outcome of findings by a Commission of Enquiry. The last contract awarded Sahara by the VRA expired in 2008, but the VRA said then, that it was not going to give a "rubber stamp” endorsement to the tender process that the previous administration began towards the award of contracts for the supply of crude for the Authority.
This notwithstanding, the Authority continued to engage the services of Sahara for averagely 400,000 barrels of crude by cargo every month, since its contract ended in 2008, until recently, when it was given a final goodbye.
Recent media reports has it that the VRA would need some US$665 million from the government to purchase the crude oil it requires, if it is to meet energy demands to the end of the year.
"Whenever VRA is not able to secure the required financing to purchase the required quantity of fuel, or if for any reason delivery of fuel is delayed, there will be supply deficit, and some, load will have to be shed," the Director of Engineering of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), Norbert Anku, was reported as saying.