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Swiss company, Litasco, allegedly sold contaminated oil to Nigeria

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DUKE Oil, a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), and Litasco Group, an international oil trading company, have been identified as the importers of the contaminated Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) currently selling in Nigeria.

Litasco brought into the country petrol containing 20 per cent methanol, which is below the Nigerian specifications, using Motor Tanker (MT) called Nord Gainer.

MRS, a local oil retailer on Wednesday in a press statement, disclosed that the NNPC subsidiary company and its trading partner brought the adulterated fuel to the country.

“NNPC through their trading arm Duke Oil supplied a cargo of PMS (petrol) purchased from international trader Litasco and delivered it with Motor Tanker (MT) Nord Gainer.

“The product analysis revealed that the PMS discharged by MT Nord Gainer had 20% methanol.”

Oil traders say acceptable methanol amounts in gasoline are two to three per cent.

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According to Vessel Finder, MT Nord Gainer, sailing under the flag of Denmark, arrived in Lagos on January 24 from Antwerpen, Belgium and departed on January 30 after spending six days and four hours at Apapa port.

The ICIR contacted Litasco on phone, but the lady who answered the call declined to comment. She also refused to identify herself.

“We do not answer questions from the press on phone, please use the form on our website,” she said.

According to the information on its website, Litasco describes itself as one of the world’s major traders of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

The company was founded in 2000 in Switzerland, as a trading arm of a Russian company, LUKOIL Oil.

With head office in Geneva, LITASCO Group has established additional trading and business development offices worldwide, extending its reach around the world from the United States to Europe, the Middle East and Asia, managing LUKOIL’s global crude oil and petroleum products supply, marketing and trading needs.

It also has affiliates in Kazakhstan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands as well as representative offices in Hong Kong, Russia and India.

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The ICIR called NNPC Group General Manager of Public Affairs, Garba Deen Muhammed for comment, but his line has been switched off.

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