DESPITE being the sole importer of petroleum products the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) has exonerated itself and indicted four notable energy companies for the importation of contaminated fuel into the country.
The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive OfficerbMele Kyari on Wednesday blamed MRS, Emadeb, Oando and Duke Oil for the development.
Kyari said the PMS was imported from Antwerp in Belgium.
The GMD said the NNPC first got report on the presence of emulsion particles in cargoes shipped to Nigeria on January 20.
“NNPC investigation revealed the presence of Methanol in Four (4) PMS cargoes imported by the following DSDP suppliers namely: MRS MT Bow Pioneer LITASCO Terminal, Antwerp-Belgium, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium MT Tom Hilde; Oando MT Elka Apollon; Duke Oil MT Nord Gainer,” he said.
He noted that cargo quality certificates issued at load port (Antwerp-Belgium) by AmSpec Belgium showed the gasoline complied with Nigerian specification.
NNPC quality inspectors, including GMO, SGS, GeoChem and G&G also conducted tests before discharge.
He explained further that cargoes were equally certified by inspection agents appointed by the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
Kyari said the NNPC had ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes and the holding back of all the affected products in transit.
He stressed further that defaulting suppliers have been put on notice for remedial actions, while the state oil company and relevant agencies will take further actions in line with subsisting regulations.
One of the indicted companies MRS had on Wednesday issued a statement explaining that the NNPC supplied the contaminated product through its trading arm, Duke oil
MRS said NNPC supplied a cargo of PMS purchased from international trader Litasco and delivered it with motor tanker, MT Nord Gainer.
Meanwhile Farouk Ahmed, who heads the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority – the regulatory agency in charge of fuel importation, while speaking to the media said the agency is fully aware of the contaminated fuel in circulation, and working hard to separate it from cleaner ones.
He however failed to acknowledge full responsibility for the error, noting that measures are already in place to recall the contaminated fuel in circulation.
Many analysts are not comfortable with the explanation as they want appropriate sanctions meted out to defaulting regulatory agencies.
An Associate Consultant for the British Department for International Development (DFID) Celestine Okeke queried why the Federal Government is yet to sanction the regulators who passed the contaminated fuel into the country.
“Where do we take the contaminated fuel to and who pays for the logistics? What will the NNPC and the Authority do with the returned PMS? It shows that no safety pre-shipment was done before importation.
“Who inspected the PMS before it gets into the country? Their explanation on recall of contaminated fuel is not enough, they need to be sanctioned,” he said.
When the ICIR contacted the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Bola Fashina who heads the corporate communications department said the government has asked them to come out of the ports since 2011.
“The government has asked us to come out of the ports since the time of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. We are not in charge, the Authority is,” Fashina said.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.