300 million litres of petrol arrive to close supply gap: FG

…begins probe contaminated fuel supply

By Matthew Tabe, Abuja

The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), had on Wednesday called Nigeriansto avoid panic buying that at least six vessels ordered by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had arrived in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, said the vessels came in with 300 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) meant to close the gap created by the contaminated petrol withdrawn from depots and filling stations.

The regulator had on Tuesday said the limited quantity of PMS with methanol quantities above Nigeria’s specification was discovered in the supply chain.

Ahmed, ahead of a meeting with industry stakeholders in Lagos on Wednesday, said the regulator had been able to work with the technical team that included the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, the NNPC and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria to address the issue.

He said, “Today, I am happy to say that loading has been going on in most of the depots because we have been able to identify, isolate and quarantine the limited amount of gasoline that was affected by the methanol volume that was discovered.

“We have vessels that have arrived in the country recently. At least six arrived in the last few days ordered by the NNPC, carrying a total volume of close to 300 million litres, just to close the gap created by those vessels we have withdrawn from the system.”

According to him, the country currently has petrol volume in-store that can last for 20 days.

He however, said, “Our ideal days of sufficiency is 30 but because of the concern that made us withdraw the vessels which created the gap in our 30 days sufficiency.

Again, with aggressive importation by the NNPC, this will be closed in a few days, according to the data we got from the NNPC’s import programme.

“Loading is also ongoing in most of the depots that have confirmed spec products; so, there is no need for panic. Hopefully, by tomorrow, Lagos will be cleared.”

According to Ahmed, there is a 9,000MT vessel that is currently about to discharge at Apapa port to major marketers including OVH, TotalEnergies, 11 Plc, Conoil and Ardova Plc.

“So, once these vessels complete discharging and start pushing the products to marketers, I believe Lagos will be cleared by Friday. We have got that assurance from the marketers.

“Also, most of these vessels will also be providing volumes to most of the members of the key members of DAPPMAN,” Ahmed added.

The Federal Government has assured Nigerians of indepth investigation into the supply of off-spec Premium Motor Spirit ( PMS) by the supplier of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and distribution by the petroleum marketing companies, Nigerian Midstream Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) as well as Marketers over the contaminated fuel imported into the country.

The decision came on the heels of the discovery that unknown litres of PMS routinely called petrol had been contaminated with Methanol which was way above Nigerian specification (off spec).

The off spec of Methanol has brought back long queues and scarcity in filling stations within Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Abuja and other states of the federation.

While speaking after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which was held yesterday, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, said there would be a major investigation to unravel the cause of the unsafe quantity of methanol in petrol imported into the country.

The Minister did not name the identities of the companies involved, but assured Nigerians that they would be made known to public after thorough investigations were concluded.

According to him, “There will be a major investigation to unravel everything. We need to get to the bottom of it before we can come back to tell you what will happen to the culprits,” the Minister said.

While assuring Nigerians whose cars were damaged after buying the fuel, the Minister said, “We know that some people’s vehicles must have been damaged; that is also going to the taken into consideration in dealing with the situation.”

The Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has disclosed that MRS, Duke Oil, OandO, and Emadeb imported the adulterated fuel that is responsible for the present fuel scarcity being experienced in Nigeria.

…Experts fault regulator, NNPC over compromise of quality assurance test

Meanwhile, experts in the oil and gas industry have accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) of compromise in the fuel discovered to be contaminated with Methanol which had thrown many Nigerians into untowards hardship.

The experts who chose not to be named for fear of retribution, told our correspondents, on a telephone call yesterday, that both bodies failed to subject the contaminated imported fuel for quality assurance test through their various laboratories in the country.

One of the leading industry experts maintained that, “All imported fuel is expected to pass through NNPC’s laboratory for quality compliant test. There was no way such a large amount of fuel would enter Nigerian market without these tests.

“So finding their ways into the market could only mean that some echelon members of NNPC and NMDPRA were complicit.”

Speaking further, he charged the federal government to use national resources to nail anyone found culpable; warning that sweeping such a criminal act under the carpet would not speak well for the country in the global community.

Another prominent stakeholder in the downstream sector faulted the Nigerian Mainstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), noted that as a regulatory body whose members are present in all Depots, and meant to sign before such fuel leaves Depots for market could not claim to be exonerated.

He charged the National Assembly to beam its search-light on “some members of the regulatory bodies.”

Also, an oil and gas expert, Managing Partner, BBH Consulting Barr. Ameh Madaki said it is a clear indication of the comtempt in which the government of Nigeria holds its citizenry.

Ameh expressed that the failure of regulation, alongside total lack of consequence management has been the bane of Nigeria’s governance all these years since independence.

According to him, “It is yet another clear demonstration of the contempt in which the government of Nigeria holds its citizenry. In any sane country, big heads would roll for this, but alas, not in Nigeria.

“The failure of regulation and total lack of consequence management has been the bane of Nigeria s governance all these years since independence. And we are never going to have the Nigeria of our collective dreams until we step forward and be counted on the side of doing things right, and we do not cover up for the incompetence and fraud as has occurred.”

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