The Nigerian National Company Limited (NNPC) yesterday stated that its investigation has revealed the presence of Methanol in four petrol cargoes imported by MRS, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium, Oando and Duke Oil.
Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, who disclosed this during a media briefing yesterday, however said he has since ordered the holding back of all the affected products in transit (both truck & marine).
It was also gathered yesterday that the NNPC has asked oil trading firms to embark on emergency supply of petrol to replace cargoes that were rejected because of their poor quality, Reuters quoted two sources as having disclosed yesterday.
Apparently disturbed by the development, the federal government yesterday ordered investigation into the bad fuel that had damaged the engines of some vehicles.
In addition to disrupting the country’s fuel supply chain, the product which led to the damage of several cars, the NNPC disclosed, was imported from Antwerp in Belgium.
Speaking in Abuja, Kyari, argued that petrol brought into Nigeria usually does not include the test for the level of methanol content.
The NNPC helmsman maintained that cargoes’ quality certificates issued at the loading port in Belgium, by AmSpec Belgium, indicated that the product complied with Nigerian specification.
Furthermore, he said the NNPC quality inspectors including GMO, SGS, GeoChem and G&G conducted tests before discharge, which showed that the cargo also met the country’s standard.
“As a standard practice for all PMS import to Nigeria, the cargoes were equally certified by inspection agent appointed by the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has met Nigerian specification.
“It is important to note that the usual quality inspection protocol employed in both the load port in Belgium and our discharge ports in Nigeria do not include the test for per cent of methanol content and therefore the additive was not detected by our quality inspectors,” he said.
Kyari disclosed that the NNPC had ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes of the contaminated fuel that led to the disruption of the petrol distribution value chain, in order to prevent further distribution.
He stressed that the NNPC and other stakeholders were making serious efforts to resolve issues generated by the supply and discharge of methanol blended product in some Nigerian depots.
Kyari noted that the NNPC first received a report on January 20, 2022, from its quality inspector of the presence of “emulsion particles” in petrol cargoes shipped to Nigeria from the European country.
He added: “In order to prevent the distribution of the petrol, we have ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes and the holding back of all the affected products in transit (both truck & marine).
“All defaulting suppliers have been put on notice for remedial actions and NNPC will work with the authority to take further necessary actions in line with subsisting regulations.
“NNPC wishes to reassure Nigerians that we are currently sourcing additional cargoes to ensure product sufficiency.”
According to him, the NNPC has ordered that all the affected products in transit (both truck & marine), should be withheld.
But the NNPC GMD’s explanation ran contrary to an earlier press statement released by MRS, where the company denied culpability.
In its statement MRS had stated that it remains a responsible corporate citizen and will not be involved in the purchase, importation, distribution or marketing of substandard petroleum products in the country, coming short of directly accusing the NNPC of complicity.
Due to current subsidy regime, NNPC is the sole supplier of all PMS in Nigeria. Consequently, the NNPC through their trading arm Duke Oil, supplied a cargo of PMS purchased from international trader Litasco and delivered it with Motor Tanker (MT) Nord Gainer. This vessel discharged in Apapa between the 24th and 30th of January, 2022,” it had alleged.
As one of the beneficiaries, MRS said it received the product in its depot and distributed the product to only eight of its stations in Lagos.
The company described the allegation trending at the time as mischievous, false and untrue.
But the NNPC boss maintained that the methanol blended petrol was imported into the country by the suppliers, including MRS, through its Direct-Sales-Direct-Purchase arrangement.
The arrangement allows the national oil company to deliver monthly crude oil lifting on Free on Board (FOB) basis to suppliers who in return are supposed to deliver petroleum products of Nigerian standard specification to NNPC