NMDPRA blames excess methanol

-Black marketers sell at N250/litre in Abuja

By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja

As queues at petrol stations in Abuja grew longer yesterday with motorists struggling to obtain the product, it emerged that about 80 million litres of adulterated petrol in circulation have been recalled by the Federal Government.

A source at the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) told Vanguard the government has recalled the adulterated petrol which began circulating last week.

The source who declined to be named said: “The products have been recalled unfortunately they have gone very far before it was noticed. The Authority is working with NNPC Limited to restore order in the distribution chain. Please give us some time and officially a statement will be issued”.

NMDPRA later in a statement explained that the bad petrol was as a result of the product having methanol quantities above Nigeria’s specification.

It stated that methanol is a regular additive in petrol and usually blended in an acceptable quantity.

According to the Authority, “to ensure vehicular and equipment safety, the limited quantity of the impacted product has been isolated and withdrawn from the market, including the loaded trucks in transit

“Our technical team in conjunction with NNPC Ltd and other industry stakeholders, will continue to monitor and ensure quality petroleum products are adequately supplied and distributed nationwide.

“The source supplier has been identified and further commercial and appropriate actions shall be taken by the Authority and NNPC Ltd. 

“NNPC Ltd and all Oil Marketing Companies have been directed to sustain sufficient distribution of Petrol in all retail outlets nationwide”, it added. 

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Meanwhile, checks around Abuja yesterday showed that only few major marketers sold the product with all independent stations shut. Expectedly, black marketers were having a field day as they sold a litre of petrol N250.

In a related development, the distribution disruption is set escalate further as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has threatened to withdraw their trucks from hauling the products across the country over rising cost operations.

The National President of NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman in a statement in Abuja described the business environment as “unbearable”, and urged the Federal Government to urgently address the challenges.

Alhaji Othman disclosed that NARTO members were finding it increasingly difficult to sustain the business because the freight rate is regulated, and paid in arrears.

Currently, the cost of freight as contained in the premium motor spirit template is N7.96 per litre.

He said the truck owners would ask their driver “to park if nothing is done because we can’t operate in such way”.

He added: “Therefore, transporters whose freight rate is fixed and regulated cannot sustain the business if nothing is done. We can’t operate. We can’t work if nothing is done to increase the freight rate. The condition is unbearable because of cost of diesel”.

Othman appealed to the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to urgently increase the freight rate to reflect the present cost of Automative Gas Oil (diesel) and spare parts.

He disclosed that the ex-depot cost of diesel has risen to N401 per litre, saying it may hit N420 per litre at the filling stations if something is not done urgently.

He also called on the NMDPRA Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Farouk Ahmed to urgently convene a stakeholder meeting to increase the freight rate and address other pressing issues of cost of operation.

“We are appealing to the CEO of the downstream regulatory agency. He has to sit down with us immediately and ensure that the freight rate is increased to reflect the rising cost of diesel and other spare parts”.

On the rising cost of diesel, Othman explained: “We have a problem. Today (Monday), the price of AGO ex-depot is N401 per litre. It means that in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, it will reach N420 to N430. At the filling station it will reach like N450”.

VANGUARD NEWS NIGERIA

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