Fuel Scarcity: Importers Still Blame Brittania-U For Methanol-Blended Fuel

It was a session of denials at the resumed investigative hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), as all invited oil companies alleged to have played roles in the importation of fuel suspected to have been blended with methanol a fortnight ago denied responsibility, pointing accusing finger on Brittania-U as the sole importer of the said product.

While the importers, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi, all claimed to have formed a consortium with Brittania- U to facilitate the effective operation of the direct-sale, direct-purchase (DSDP) scheme of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, they, however, informed the legislative panel on Tuesday that Brittania-U alone got the contract to import from the originating port where the methanol- blended fuel was said to have come from.

Addressing the panel on behalf of the consortium which include Brittania-U, Mr. Adebowale Olujimi applauded the NNPC for its foresight in putting together and supporting the consortium to manage the DSDP agreement which, he said, was geared towards eliminating product scarcity in the country.

“The consortium was awarded the DSDP contract on June 22, 2021 by NNPC.

The delivery of the petroleum, product and crude lifting have been done strictly on a rotational basis by the respective consortium members,” he said. He, however, stated that one of the parties in the contract, Brittania-U went outside the agreement and initiated communications with NNPC without the knowledge of others, and without notifying the NNPC that it wasn’t representing the consortium, as a result of which it got the deal and imported the ill-fated product said to be laden with methanol.

“Some of the consortium members, Emadeb/ Hyde and AY Maikifi, immediately engaged a reputable international company for delivery of all PMS cargoes and prompt loading of crude oil, while Brittania- U chose to engage a different entity for her own supplies.

“Brittania-U also preferred to liaise directly with NNPC and took responsibility for all her transactions without recourse to the other consortium members.

All evidence to substantiate Brittania-U’s position are attached for references. “The other consortium members, Emadeb/Hyde and AY Maikifi, have successfully delivered 270,000 metric tons (MT) of premium motor spirit (PMS), while Brittania U also delivered 90,000mt of PMS.

“The PMS alleged to be methanol-blended was solely delivered by Brittania-U via MT Torm Hilde in January 2022.

The other consortium members, Emadeb/ Hyde and AY Maikifi, were not privy to the arrangements for the delivery of the aforementioned PMS and documentary evidence relating to the PMS.

“We hereby state that the said importation of contaminated PMS was executed by a member of the consortium, to wit Brittania- U. “Distinguished Hon. members, it is worthy to mention that Brittania-U should be allowed to provide all answers to the controversy surrounding the importation of the PMS product,” he said. In her defence, the CEO of Brittania-U, Uju Ifejika, said her company has done no wrong as it only brought in what was specified in the contract. She added that necessary quality control tests were carried out at every turn with clearance certificates issued and the products successfully handed over.

“We have a DSDP contract with NNPC and we have done DSDP with NNPC for two and a half years, and we have brought in 10 cargoes.

This is our tenth cargo and none of our cargoes was off-spec. And this particular one was not off-spec. Before a cargo will come in, there will be a test at the port of loading, which they did at Antwerp.

This time, our supplier, Petraco, did their sample at Antwerp and they gave us their sample result. The committee led by Hon. Ahmad Abdullahi Gaya before adjourning the hearing stated that the panel would bring back the NNPC to shed more lights on the facts laid bare before it.

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