Business News of 2014-01-22

Ghana Bunkering Services on the decline

...say industry insiders

In the 13 years since Shell Ghana, Total Ghana, and Mobil Oil sold their shares in Ghana Bunkering Services (GBS) to GOIL, supply of marine oil to vessels has been sluggish say industry insiders.

Because of under-investment GBS continues to rely on the same storage tanks built by the previous shareholders, leading to supply shortages in the face of growing demand for marine oil by vessels.

Private bunkering firms, which source marine oil from GBS to sell to vessels, say GBS is often unable to deliver the quantities they order due to its undercapacity.

“We had been having our orders supplied intact when the previous shareholders of GBS -- Shell, Total and Mobil -- were in charge of the pipeline,” the private operators complained.

B&FT also gathered that most of the fishing vessels, due to the poor supplies, have to sail offshore for refuelling -- causing government to lose revenue.

“GOIL currently needs private bunkering companies to help build more storage tanks since it is always complaining of lack of funds,” said an official of one of the private bunkering firms.

The private bunkering companies called on government to restructure the operations of GBS to improve efficiency, and to welcome private sector involvement in the running of GBS.

A staff of GBS who spoke on anonymity said GBS is currently short of competent hands. “I can tell you that both GBS and GOIL do not have competent hands to handle a sophisticated business like bunkering. GOIL should collaborate with private bunkering services companies to grow the industry,” he said.

“It is obvious that GOIL lacks the competence to run a bunkering company. As we speak, we don’t have enough marine oil in our storage tanks to meet the ever-increasing demand from vessels,” he added.