The federal government, through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), on Tuesday confirmed the circulation of adulterated petrol with methanol quantities above the country’s specification.
Though the agency did not give the total volume of the product imported or that is in circulation, sources said at least 100 million litres of adulterated Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) are in circulation in the country. It was learnt that a European company imported the product on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
NNPC was yet to react or give specific details on how the importer defeated all protocols to bring in the product and the failure to detect it in the ports, or at the deports until after consumers raised the alarm. However, NMDPRA in a statement, Tuesday, confirmed that there was a problem.
“Limited quantity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, with methanol quantities above Nigeria’s specification, was discovered in the supply chain,” it said.
It explained that methanol is a regular additive in petrol and is usually blended in an acceptable quantity.
“To ensure vehicular and equipment safety, the limited quantity of the impacted product has been isolated and withdrawn from the market, including the loaded trucks in transit,” it said. NMDPRA said its technical teams were working with NNPC Ltd and other industry stakeholders to ensure that quality petroleum products were adequately distributed nationwide.
“The source supplier has been identified and further commercial and appropriate actions shall be taken by the authority and NNPC Ltd,” it said.
Speaking to BBC Hausa, the Chief Executive of NMDPRA, Faruq Ahmed, admitted that the adulterated petroleum products were imported into the country but the situation was not as bad as people perceived it.
He said the authority, with the help of relevant agencies, had done much to isolate and withdraw the adulterated product out of circulation.
“Some days back, four ships imported petroleum products to NNPC Limited. On arrival, we discovered that the product is blended with an unacceptable quantity of methanol, so we were able to stop all the ships supplying that particular product and stop the depots where it was uploaded in Calabar and Warri from distributing it.
“We were also able to stop many loaded trucks on transit, but some have already unloaded in filling stations but we succeeded in withdrawing the adulterated fuel out of circulation.
“As I am talking to you now, we have formed a committee with representatives from NNPC, NMDPRA, major marketers and depot owners, currently meeting in Lagos, on how they will rid the adulterated petrol out of depots before supplying the good product into the market.
“We also identified the company that shipped and sold the adulterated product to the NNPC Limited and we will take legal action against the company, and the NNPC will take care of the trade aspect of it,” he said.
It’s a huge loss – Marketers
Marketers and industry watchers valued the adulterated product at N16.5 billion, raising fears that some vehicles have been damaged already.
Our correspondents report that because of its inability to refine its crude oil, Nigeria exports the product and in turn imports petrol and other products for domestic use.