By Godwin ORITSE
THE Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR,) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), have uncovered six dark spots between Lagos and Abuja, where petroleum products are adulterated.
Disclosing this recently at a stakeholders meeting in Lagos, SON’s Director General, Mr. Joseph Odumodu, and his DPR counterpart Mr. Ostein Olorunsola, vowed to move into these dark spots to stop the illicit trade.
DPR noted that products adulteration is worse up north, adding that statistics showed that much of the kerosene, petrol and diesel tested were found to have been adulterated, adding that most of the products adulterations were carried out at discharge points, storage facilities and retail outlets.
The industry regulator also disclosed that about 21 outlets were used for the petrol testing, while 15 were also used for diesel, adding that in the course of the diesel test, the presence of kerosene was as high as 77.1 percent, while the cetane content was as low as 45.5 percent.
“Results showed that the quality of diesel improved within a week after the release of the South West results. In the East, AGO tested were noticed to have kerosene content with a maximum value of 62.1 percent and cetane number of as low as 46 percent.
“The Diesel available in Enugu was mostly adulterated with kerosene in all cases except for two stations. The diesel samples in Anambra all had kerosene, all the diesel samples drawn in Imo were almost kerosene-free. The products in Imo were all sourced from Port Harcourt Refinery.
“The PMS samples all passed parameters other than the colour. AGO sampled from Rivers, Bayelsa, Abia and Cross Rivers had no kerosene. AGO from Akwa Ibom had Kerosene in amounts of up to about 27 percent – Cetane number of as low as 47 percent.”
It added that crude refining facilities were discovered in some areas and handed over to the law enforcement agents.
Meanwhile, in view of the unwholesome development, SON warned the operators to desist from such criminal acts or face the wrath of the law.
Odumodu said that operators of retail outlets should enlist the services agency and ensure that their facilities are certified and identification certificate issued to them.
The SON boss, who described adulteration as an act of terrorism which is punishable under the Anti-terrorism Act, noting that facilities involved in product adulteration will be treated as such.
He also disclosed that the agency has concluded plans to extract information from owners of retail outlets to ascertain their exact locations to ascertain their level of compliance against product adulteration.
According to the SON boss, the information extracted from outlet owners will be done by filling out a form that will be obtained from any branch of designated banks or from an online platform, adding that certification fees in line with the category of outlet will also be charged.
His words, “Any facility which fails to comply with the listing requirements and within the prescribed time limit shall be denied access to purchase and lift petroleum product from any certified depot or major sales point for re-sale at its outlet.
“Adulteration of petroleum products is classified as an Act of Terrorism, as such, an unlisted facility risks being branded a terrorist facility especially in view of the prevalent security circumstances in the country.”
He however appealed to stakeholders in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry to join hands with the agency to stem this embarrassing trend in the country.”We are all stakeholders in this project and should play our part to make it work,” he added.