Adulterated Fuel: Shortage worsens as filling stations run out of stock, close doors

FRESH indications, emerged, yesterday, that shortage of petrol in the country has worsened as many filling stations decided to shut their doors against motorists and other buyers in Abuja as well as Lagos, Oyo and Ogun states.

Sunday Vanguard learnt that while many of the stations had exhausted their stock of quality petrol, others still had commercial stock of the bad product which utilisation, last week, culminated in the damage of many automobiles, generators and other equipment.

Some marketers, who pleaded anonymity, said it will take a while to bring in new product, especially because of limited space for storage.

According to the marketers, the bad product will have to be properly evacuated from depots and filling stations to authorised places before the new product could be moved into the domestic market.

Meanwhile, the situation has culminated in the emergence of illegal or black market, whose operators were seen hawking the product at between N200 and N350 per litre, depending on location in Lagos and environs.

NMDPRA orders depots, stations

Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, created to regulate operations under the newly established Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, responding to the development, yesterday, ordered all depots and filling stations to open their doors for inspection.

The inspection and quantification of the bad product will be carried out by various committees, including technical and commercial, established during the recent stakeholders engagement in Lagos.

FCCPC spits fire

Also yesterday, in line with Federal Government’s promise to deal with those behind the bad petrol, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, commenced moves targeted at bringing importers and distributors of the product to book.

In a statement obtained by Sunday Vanguard, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, noted that its intervention was in consonance with Sections 17(a), (h), (i), (l), (t), (w), (y), (z), 131(a), (b), (d), 132, 133, 136 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018; and Sections 164(5)(b) and 210 of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

Irukera stated: “The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has become aware that a certain but limited quantity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) that does not comply with established, applicable, and prevailing standards has been distributed and sold in certain parts of the country.

“The Commission in the process of its initial investigative assessment understands that consumers who purchased fuel that constitutes part of this consignment have experienced technical difficulties and or damage to their vehicles or other relevant equipment/machinery.

“In furtherance of its investigation; and pursuant to relevant laws, the Commission is currently engaging multiple regulators and entities relevant and involved in the PMS distribution value chain.

“The purpose of ongoing engagements include, addressing hardship or difficulties consumers may experience with respect to withdrawal of the implicated products from the market, securing assurance and promoting consumer confidence that supply constrains are addressed and will not persist and ensuring that the regulator’s recall effort under applicable laws and regulations including Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 (FCCPA) sufficiently excludes continuing distribution of the implicated product.

“It also includes encouraging and promoting additional and robust mechanisms to prevent reoccurrence and developing a meaningful and transparent mechanism to address demonstrated injury to affected consumers.

“The Commission’s engagement with the key and relevant regulators/entities involved has been constructive and productive. The Commission commends this responsiveness and prioritisation of ensuring continuity of supply, containment of implicated product and sensitivity to consumer dissatisfaction and inconvenience.

“The Commission is continuing engagement, particularly with respect to a reasonable and acceptable mechanism to mitigate demonstrated injury and or loss experienced by consumers. The Commission intends to provide additional information as this rather dynamic situation evolves.”

Blame game

In a related development, Oando Plc, yesterday, joined other companies to deny its alleged involvement in the importation of the bad product.

In a statement obtained by Sunday Vanguard, the company stated: “Following media reports listing Oando as one of four importers that supplied methanol-blended Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) into the country, we hereby

state that Oando did not import and supply PMS that was adulterated or substandard.

“The PMS supplied by Oando met Nigeria’s import specification. We are committed to working assiduously with the NNPC and industry to identify the root cause(s) of the subsequent contamination of the PMS supplied.

“We want to assure the public that Oando as a responsible corporate citizen would not partake in the importation, distribution, or marketing of substandard petroleum products.”

Previously, MRS and Emadeb had refuted that they were among marketers that imported the bad fuel into the country.

A statement released by the lead partner, Emadeb Energy Services had explained that importation of the contaminated PMS was executed by a “member of the consortium.”

“Therefore, the blanket claims made against the consortium are misleading and contradict the actual events that happened; they do not fully reflect and/or represent what transpired. It is important to inform the public of these facts and provide clarifications relating to delivery of the said contaminated PMS to the country,”the statement said..

‘’We also deem it necessary to protect our image as we have invested a lot in building our respective brands in the industry”.

The company, which alleged that Brittania-U Nigeria Limited (Brittania-U) was the sole supplier of the 90,000MT of PMS delivered via MT Torm Hilde, had added: “At the formation of the consortium in May 2021, Brittania-U refused to execute the Service and Consortium Agreement submitted in fulfillment of the award of the DSDP Contract.”

On its part, MRS had claimed that the petrol brought into its facilities was imported by Duke that works for Government.

Buhari, Reps reaction

President Muhammadu Buhari and the House of Representatives had, last week, talked tough over the bad fuel, saying those behind the importation must be held accountable.

Meanwhile, a source close to Brittania-U told Sunday Vanguard that the company is innocent of the allegations.

the sun newspaper

 
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