A total of 95 Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) out of the 422 registered OMCs operating in the Central Region have suspended operations as of December 2023. According to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), eight of them could not be located, indicating that they may have gone out of operation or decommissioned.
The primary challenges faced by these OMCs were financial, as stated by Mr. Michael Opoku, the Central Regional Manager of NPA. Lack of funds to lift from sponsoring companies was cited as a major reason for the suspension of operations. Mr. Opoku explained that OMCs facing financial issues due to their sponsoring companies not lifting products cannot operate under such circumstances.
For the OMCs that could not be located, Mr. Opoku suggested that some may be the informal and easily decommissioned “Gaogao” outlets, while others may be registered filling stations facing challenges. The NPA is working to regularize operations with OMCs that are fully cooperating.
The distribution of OMCs across the 22 districts in the region varies, with the Awutu Senya East Municipality having the highest number at 96, followed by Mfantseman Municipality with 41, and Assin North with the least at six. The concentration of OMCs is influenced by population and location factors.
Mr. Opoku expressed concern about illegal selling of petroleum products in hard-to-reach communities, emphasizing the risks associated with these unregulated activities. He highlighted the dangers of fuel adulteration, lack of safety measures, and the absence of proper fire prevention systems in such unauthorized outlets.
The NPA urged the public to avoid purchasing petroleum products from unauthorized reseller outlets and encouraged them to buy from licensed and certified fuel stations. Mr. Opoku emphasized the importance of ensuring fuel quality and safety by patronizing legally recognized outlets across Ghana.