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Nairaland Forum / Nairaland / General / Politics / EDITORIAL: That Nigeria May Not Suffer Another Dirty Fuel Distress (104 Views)
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|EDITORIAL: That Nigeria May Not Suffer Another Dirty Fuel Distress by nairalandaddict: 7:43pm On Feb 11, 2022|
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When the 200-year-old UK Guardian reported in July 2020 that the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), better known as petrol, imported into Nigeria from Europe was highly toxic and “dirtier” than the ones derived from illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, Nigerian authorities roundly denied the newspaper report which was based on laboratory analysis. However, the misery of the past few days have blown up the strident rebuttal in the faces of the country’s officials. The past week was highly embarrassing for Nigeria and distressing for the citizenry as the country heavily resourced in hydrocarbons, suffered the exasperating impact associated with the remediation of the importation of 170.25 million litres of adulterated fuel into the country.
Aside from the harrowing inconvenience of spending long hours on petrol queues, there are instances of vehicle engines being damaged as a result of the bad fuel. Those whose vehicles were so damaged must be compensated for their losses and they had better be considering a class-action lawsuit to the effect. It all started when methanol above Nigeria’s specification inexplicably found its way into a quantity of petrol in the supply chain. Some reports put the additive at 20 per cent way above the five per cent of methanol that is blended into the gasoline used in Europe. Nobody except, perhaps officialdom, saw fuel scarcity in the offing. Nigerians in the FCT and Lagos and adjourning states woke on Monday to find themselves in the middle of a biting energy crisis. This was after 80 million litres of the adulterated fuel already circulating in the market were said to have been recalled.
Fair enough, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited saw the supply disruption coming and tried to mitigate the challenge. According to the Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, “On 20th January 2022, NNPC received a report from our quality inspector on the presence of emulsion particles in PMS cargoes shipped to Nigeria from Antwerp-Belgium. NNPC investigation revealed the presence of Methanol in Four (4) PMS cargoes.” He went on to expose the companies that brought in the contaminated fuel as MRS, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium, Oando, Duke Oil, NNPC subsidiary. These are coys with whom the NNPC has Direct-Sales-Direct-Purchase (DSDP) agreement. This involves the national oil company delivering monthly crude oil lifting on a free-on-board basis to suppliers who are in return supposed to deliver petroleum products of Nigerian standard specification to the NNPC.
The petroleum products delivered are expected to be equivalent in value to the crude oil received from NNPC subject to the general terms and conditions as recommended. This was not to be in the current impasse as the suppliers absolved themselves of any wrongdoing, leaving the NNPC to bear the brunt of the infraction with grave national security implications. While the NNPC and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) deserve commendation for quickly identifying, isolating and quarantining the adulterated fuel, Naija News asserts that they should not have allowed the importation of the dirty fuel in the first place. NNPC must carry the can since it is the sole importer of petroleum products into the country. Nigerians have no business with NNPC’s partners in crude-for-fuel contracts. If the trust of Nigerians who just want fuel for their automobiles and machines can be so betrayed, then it is time to diversify the importation of petroleum product into the country.
Energy is so vital to the survival of any country that leaving its importation to one entity is dangerous. While it is unacceptable for Nigeria to continue to rely on petrol imports, the latest development has thrown up the high risks involved in relying on a single supplier of PMS. It is akin to putting all eggs in one basket which can leave the owner with none at the slightest mishap. For the present arrangement to continue, NNPC must prove that it has the capacity to continue supplying all the PMS needs of the country. It can so convince Nigerians by promptly sanctioning the companies that brought the country to this sorry pass. Meanwhile, we cannot but wonder how adulterated cargos of PMS could make their way all through 11 checks into filling stations in the country when they are agencies like the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) and the Nigeria Customs Service on the ground. Someone in the chain apparently dropped the ball.
The excuse that tests for methanol is not listed among criteria to look out for while inspecting fuel being imported into Nigeria doesn’t quite cut it. Nigeria has never had it this bad. The last time something similar happened was in 2008 when Oando admitted after confirming from the supplier, Gunvor International BV Amsterdam, that the 33,000 metric tons of fuel it delivered was contaminated with ethanol. As damaging to cars as this was at the time, it cannot be compared with this latest incident which is a blight on this government’s legacy. Naija News also recalls the foul fuel incident in 1997 when petrol with an offensive ordour was imported into Nigeria during the military junta of late General Sani Abacha. The engine of so many cars was damaged by this “foul fuel” which also threatened the health of the citizens at the time.
It is disgraceful that 25 years on, Nigeria is still suffering the importation of dirty fuel all because successive administrations have refused to put the nation’s refinery in top shape. The learning from the latest importation of contaminated fuel must not be lost on the Nigerian government. It is high time our premium quality Bonny Light crude is refined locally. It is shameful for Nigeria to remain the only member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that lacks sufficient local refining capacity. We have been identified as having the most polluted air in the world because our country is a major dumping ground for bad fuel. While clean petrol should not contain more than 50ppm (parts per million) of sulphur, PMS imported into Nigeria from Europe contain a whooping 3,000ppm! When methanol is blended with fuel, it increases the sulphur content making the product highly corrosive and dangerous to humans and machines.
Naija News urges the Nigerian government to implement the accord it signed with Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in Abuja on December 1, 2016, to ban the importation of dirty fuels from Europe. The fact that these neighbouring countries are ready markets for Nigeria to export finished petroleum products should incentivize the government to build new refineries and refurbish the existing ones. Given that the diesel and PMS produced in the illegal bush refineries in Niger Delta creeks have been found to be far cleaner than petroleum products imported from Europe, efforts should be made by the authorities to standardize the operations of these artisanal refineries to guard against environmental degradation. Supporting the bush refineries will yield several gains to the country especially the conservation of forex, and save Nigerians the pains of another bad fuel incident in the future.
|Re: EDITORIAL: That Nigeria May Not Suffer Another Dirty Fuel Distress by Charleys: 8:07pm On Feb 11, 2022|
This dirty fuel story is just fake news to cause artificial scarcity so the top guns can increase their petrol pump price.
I see through the bull shxt only the common man don't see this.
I drank the poisoned chalice and survived
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