NNPC And IPMAN At War Over Imported Adulterated Petrol

 By Elizabeth Chukwuma

 When long queues appeared  in filling stations in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre  that has the ports of Apapa, and Tincan Island, which controls over 75% volume of cargoes that  enter into the  country, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and other parts of the country, there was fears that it was a ploy by the All Progressive Congress, APC, led government to arm-twist Nigerians to  cave in and agree to the planned increase in the pump  price of Petrol.

 The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, now baptised Nigerian National  Petroleum Company Limited, NNPC, going by the Petroleum Industry  Act, PIA, had recommended that the pump price of a litre of petrol should  be sold for N345.00 per litre, if it must compete with other major importers and distributors of petrol in the country  and still be in the business.

Return Of petrol Queues In Lagos Filling Stations As NNPC And IPMAN Trade Blames

Mele Kyari, Managing Director , NNPC, may have known that there was trouble ahead  that he quickly rose to the challenge by explaining the cause of return of queues in filling stations in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country. The NNPC Chief Executive Officer, CEO, who was working closely with Temipre Sylva, a former governor of Bayelsa state and now minister of state, Petroleum Resources,  had blamed’’ the importers for trying to return the country to the bad old days by importing adulterated petrol into the country’’.

He had had said that four PMS cargoes  imported into the country were made  by MRS, a  Petrol Marketing and Distribution Company owned by Aliko Dangote, a business mogul,  Amaeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi Brittania Consortium, Ondo and Duke Oil but were contaminated with ethanol.

 MRS,  was said to have  used MT Bow Pinoneer , Emadeb /Hyde/AY Maikifi Brittania  U Consortium, MT Tom Hilde while Ondo and Duke Oil, had  imported the gasoline   using MT. Eka Appolon and MT Nord Gainer, respectively to ship their PMS import into the Nigerian market through the Lagos port of Apapa.

Kyari: MD/ceo, NNPC

An aggrieved Kyari had said that  the PMS imported into the country by  the  four  Petroleum Products marketing  companies  contained Methanol  which was not detected  by checks  because  ‘’the quality  checks  do not include  checks  for Methanol percentage  before the vessels were loaded with the product and shipped to Nigeria’’.

Funny enough, the  cargoes quality Certificates that were issued  to the importers at  the port of Antwerp, Belgium,  by Amspec Belgium shows that  that the shipped gasoline  had’’ complied with Nigerian Certification’’ .

 Even GMO, Societe Generalle de’ Surveillance, SGS, , Geochem and G&amp G, engaged by NNPC , that were said to have  also conducted tests  on the gasoline  before it was discharged at the Lagos port  confirmed that  the gasoline met the Nigerian government Certification which may not have given the Corporation  any cause to worry .

 The NNPC bos, however,s may have known that the imported was not good when motorists  stated complaining  about it.  He has no option but to open up to save the  situation from degenerating. More worrisome was the report of NNPC inspectors at the Lagos port of discharge has confirming that the gasolie met Nigerian Certification.

Given an insider information on how Petroleum Products are imported into the country,  he had said that such cargoes  are usually certified  by the Inspection agents  appointed by  the Dowstream and Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, to ensure it met Nigerian Certification before shipment.

MT . Pioneer Used By MRS, Ship Adulterated petrol Into The Country As Revealed By NNPC

He had said  that the adulterated Petrol could not be discovered early enough in the port of Shipment at Antwerp, Belgium  and the port of discharge in Nigeria, because  ‘’the usual  quality  inspection  protocol  employed in both  the load port in Belgium  and the discharge port in Nigeria ‘’do not include the test  for percentage of Methanol content’’.  Methanol, according to informed sources had been prohibited in PMS , imported into the country .

Kyari , the NNPC, boss who had been under intense pressure from the higher Authorities to return the situation in the country  to normalcy to avoid giving the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP,  room to use it as a  Campaign issue in the 2023, general situations.

It is not surprising why the Corporation is currently sourcing for additional cargoes to meet the PMS demands of the country and prevent the distribution of the Methanol adulterated gasoline. As a prelude to ensuring that the imported adulterated gasoline was not sold in filling stations  across the country  may have informed why NNPC,  has ordered  ‘’the quarantine  of all un-evacuated  volumes and the holding back  of all  the affected products in transit  both truck and &amp , including marine.

The Down stream and Midstream Regulatory Authorities, officials were said to also have beamed their search light on the on the suppliers of the affected products as they were said to have been’’ put on notice  for remedial action ‘’.  Although NNPC had said that it will work closely with the Downstream and Midstream Authority ‘’to take further necessary actions  in line with the subsisting  regulations’’, to bring the situation under control.

The Independent Petrol Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, would not want to sit by and watch NNPC , rubbish their business, as they have turned the heat  back on the Corporation. The Association, in tun had blamed the regulatory agencies for the problem even as they lament that many of their members  have incurred  huge losses from buying the contaminated  petrol . Officials of IPMAN had said that ‘’if the NNPC officials and foreign inspectors were alive to their duties, they could have ‘’stopped the adulterated petrol from the point of entry into the country’’.   

In spite of Claims by NNPC, that that four petrol and distribution Companies including Dangote’s Company, MRS, had imported the adulterated petrol in into the country, officials of MRS,had come out   to make a bold Statement  that ‘’it does not import  PMS ,as alleged by NNPC but gets its product supplies from the Corporation  which is ‘’the sole importer  of all PMS, in Nigeria due to the current subsidy regime’’. The Company had said that it received 5,000 metric tons but when it was discovered that it was adulterated ,’’ it was immediately isolated’’.

 The Company had said that its cargo vessel discharged at the Apapa port between January  24 and 30, 2022 and distributed to eight of its  filling stations  in Lagos, stressing that  350,000 litres are still in their tanks, awaiting for the regulatory Authorities   to approve the return of the unsold quantities of petrol back  to the company.

 Other major marketers that were said to have got their supplies from MR  include NICO,5, 958 MT, rdova, 6,000mt , bringing the total allocation to 16,950 mt.   The Company has given its words ‘’to work closely with NNPC  and NMDPRA, for ‘’the evacuation  of the contaminated petrol’’.

Syva: Minister Of State, Petroleum Resources

Sylva, the minister of state, Petroleum Resources may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he hinted that there will be a major investigation ‘’to unravel  the cause of the unsafe quantity  of methanol petrol imported into the country’’. The minister had said that the identities of the companies involved will be known  after the investigations and what will happen to the culprits. The former Balysa governor was emphatic: We will do everything within our powers to get the bottom of the imported adulterated  petrol.

Given that NNPC, had already released the identities of the companies that imported the adulterated petrol into the country, may have encouraged Femi Gajabiamila , led House of Representative ‘’to suspend  the four companies. The House were said to have mandated the Committee on petroleum downstream ‘’to investigate the release and sale  of the off –spec  Premium Motor Spirit by filling stations  across the country and bring the culprits to book’’.  As NNPC and PMAN, are throwing brickbats on each, there are fears that both the government and House Investigation Panel may have  a difficult job to do, meaning that the country would be  back to square one.

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