MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, an oil marketer, says it is not responsible for the importation and distribution of “substandard and contaminated” petrol in the country.
On Tuesday, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) confirmed that petrol, with methanol quantities above Nigeria’s specification, was discovered in the supply chain.
The development caused long queues across Lagos and Abuja as many filling stations shut down services.
Meanwhile, there have been rumours on social media that MRS allegedly imported off-spec petrol into the country, but the company described them as “mischievous, false and untrue.”
In a video circulating online, a petrol attendant, wearing an MRS uniform, was seen dispensing what appears to be adulterated petrol to a customer.
Reacting in a statement, MRS said it doesn’t import premium motor spirit (PMS), better known as petrol.
The company explained that it gets petrol from NNPC which is the sole importer of all PMS in Nigeria due to the current subsidy regime.
It said the NNPC, through Duke Oil, its trading arm, supplied a cargo of PMS purchased from Litasco, an international trader, and delivered it with motor tanker (MT) Nord Gainer.
MRS said the vessel was discharged in Apapa between January 24-30, 2022, and distributed to major marketers.
The company said it also received 5,000 mt of the product, adding that the fuel was immediately isolated when it was discovered to be contaminated.
“This vessel discharged in Apapa between January 24 and 30, 2022 and the following Major Marketers with receiving quantities were the recipients of the product: OVH 10,000 mt; MRS 5,000 mt; NIPCO 5,958 mt; ARDOVA 6,000 mt; TOTAL 10,000 mt,” the statement reads.
“As one of the beneficiaries, MRS received the product in its depot and distributed the product to only eight of its stations in Lagos. Following delivery into tank, it was observed that the product appeared hazy and dark; Management immediately directed that further sale(s) should be stopped and the product isolated. Urgent steps were taken to analyze the product to determine the basis for its contamination.”
“The product analysis revealed that the PMS discharged by MT Nord Ganier had 20% methanol, which is an illegal substance in Nigeria.
“As a Company, we are aware that alcohol/ethanol is not permitted to be mixed in PMS specification. We immediately informed NNPC, NMDPRA and MOMAN and it was confirmed that other members had similar experiences.
“As at the time of this press release, ‘MRS’ had a total of 350,000 litres in the tank at the eight stations; we await approval from NNPC and NMDPRA for the return of the product.
“The eight stations have been isolated, but there are other tanks within the stations, which will receive uncontaminated product for sale as soon as possible.
“In view of the above, ‘MRS’ will continue to work with NNPC and NMDPRA, for the evacuation of the contaminated product to NNPC, who is the sole supplier of the product.”
“The allegation reported against the Company that ‘MRS’ imported contaminated products, is therefore mischievous, false and untrue. ‘MRS’ is not an importer of this contaminated PMS into the country, nor does ‘MRS’ sell substandard products.”
The company said NNPC has taken necessary steps to reject further imports of this product from Litasco /Duke Oil and/or any other trader, supplying fuels that contain ethanol/methanol into Nigeria.
It assured citizens that all products currently dispensed/sold out of all MRS stations (with the exception of the recent product received from NNPC), are on-spec and are of the highest quality.
“We implore our esteemed customers to continue to patronise ‘MRS’ stations nationwide, while we assure you that all product(s) currently sold are not contaminated,” the statement adds.