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Off-spec petrol: Reps conclude probe, clear ALL oil marketers

BY Samuel Akpan
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The house of representatives has exonerated oil marketers accused of importing methanol-blended premium motor spirit (PMS) into the country.

Duke Oil, MRS Oil, Oando Oil and Emadeb consortium — Hyde, AY Maikifi, Britannia-U — were the oil marketers accused of importing the off-spec PMS.

The lower legislative chamber absolved the oil companies of wrongdoing following the consideration and approval of the report of the committee on petroleum resources downstream at the committee of the whole on Thursday.

The green chamber said the oil companies “did not commit any offence, therefore not recommended for suspension”.

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Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya, chairman of the committee on petroleum resources, had submitted the report two weeks ago, but the house refused to consider it and suggested that further works on it.

In February, 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.

Mele Kyari, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, had said the suppliers imported the methanol-blended petrol.

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The development caused long queues across Nigeria as many filling stations shut down services.

On February 10, the lower legislative chamber asked the NNPC Limited to suspend the companies involved and also mandated its petroleum committees to investigate the matter.

After considering the report of the committee on Thursday, the lawmakers approved the seven recommendations therein.

Besides absolving the oil companies of blame, the lawmakers asked the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to henceforth test for methanol on imported petrol in the country.

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Below are the recommendations approved by the lower legislative chamber:

  • That the Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources should expedite action for completion of the rehabilitation work and ensure upgrading of the major refineries at Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna to meet AFRI5 Specification to boost local refining and reduce over-dependence on imported PMS into Nigeria to avert reoccurrence.
  • That the Hon. Minister of State, Petroleum Resources should initiate the adoption of the 2017 PMS Standard (NIS 116:2017) as approved by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) which include testing for Methanol for future importation of the product into the country to mitigate reoccurrence;
  • That the Federal Government should position the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to implement its mandate to the latter by subjecting all imported white Petroleum and other products to the Offshore conformity assessment and also resume routine quality control of them and other products imported into the country at our various Seaports, Airports and Borders throughout Nigeria as shrined in the Standards Organization of Nigeria enabling Act of 2015. This will finally address the reoccurrence of the importation of off-specification PMS and other substandard goods into Nigeria.
  • Based on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited exoneration, the Four (4) Oil Marketers/Importers (Duke Oil, MRS Oil and Gas, Oando Oil and Emadeb, Energy/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Britannia-U Consortium) did not commit any offence, therefore not recommended for suspension.
  • That the Federal Government is to note that the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) mandate is also specifically enshrined in item 62 (d) of Part I of the Second Schedule (Exclusive Legislative List), to the 1999 Constitution.
  • That the Regulatory Authority in this case Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) should ensure proper housekeeping by working with the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in ensuring water is drained regularly out of the tanks in the Tank Farms, Tankers (trucks) and underground tanks at the service stations.
  • That the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) Limited shall maintain local supply and distribution of 90 million litres daily across the country until normalcy is restored.
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