The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Thursday said four importers were responsible for the importation of petrol containing a high level of methanol. Major Nigerian cities are facing fuel scarcity after NNPC halted the circulation of the bad fuel. The company said it is working to normalise supplies in the coming days.
NNPC boss Mele Kyari said in a statement by the company’s spokesman Garba Deen Muhammad that MRS, Oando, Duke Oil and a consortium of consisting Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U were responsible for bringing in the fuel. Details of the vessels used to import the bad fuel were also published by NNPC. The regulator said all the cargos came in from Antwerp, Belgium.
Kyari said that the quality certificates issued at load port in Antwerp by AmSpec Belgium indicated that the petrol complied with Nigerian specifications. He noted that the corporation received a report from its quality inspector on January 20, on the presence of emulsion particles in PMS cargoes shipped to Nigeria from Antwerp.
He said further investigations revealed the presence of methanol in four PMS cargoes imported by MRS, Oando, Duke Oil and the Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U consortium. “The NNPC quality inspectors including GMO, SGS, GeoChem and G&G conducted tests before discharge also showed that the gasoline met Nigerian specification,” Kyari said.
Kyari noted that as a standard practice for all PMS imports to Nigeria, the said cargoes were equally certified by an inspection agent appointed by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDRA). NMDRA said while methanol is a “regular additive in petrol and usually blended in an acceptable quantity,” the levels in the four cargoes were higher than Nigeria’s specification.
“It is important to note that the usual quality inspection protocol employed in both the load port in Belgium and our discharge ports in Nigeria do not include the test for Percent methanol content & therefore the additive was not detected by our quality inspectors,” Kyari said. However, in order to prevent the distribution of the petrol, the NNPC CEO said the company promptly ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes and the holding back of all the affected products in transit. Kyari said all defaulting suppliers have been put on notice for remedial actions and that NNPC and NMDRA will take further necessary actions in line with subsisting regulations.