Going by the posture of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) on the dirty fuel importation saga, entities fingered in the controversy will soon face the Hon. Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya-led committee.
This comes barely a day after the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), which enjoys a pseudo monopoly of fuel importation in the country, apologized and promised to ensure that the attendant scarcity and queues disappear at filling stations.
Yet, the House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), the National Assembly organ that exercises oversight functions on all refining and marketing operations, has insisted that it would ‘handle companies who imported methanol-blended Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) into the country.”
Responding to questions from a committee member during an engagement with the Management of the NNPC on the current fuel scarcity and situation on Wednesday, Hon. Gaya gave the assurance that his committee would handle the companies involved.
Mallam Mele Kyari, NNPC chief executive, who had briefed the committee before Gaya spoke, said the country is currently facing the situation following the discovery of methanol in the PMS cargoes shipped under its subsisting commercial contract and its partners. He explained that the high methanol content slipped through because methanol was not listed as forbidden in Nigeria’s regulatory specification for product imports.
”We are a law-abiding company,” Mele Kyari pleaded. ”There is no way we could have known about the methanol presence. The only way we could have known about it is if our suppliers, in good faith, made the disclosure to us. In this particular instance, the discovery was made by our inspection agents who noticed the emulsification at the filling stations and brought it to our attention.”
”Subsequent investigation revealed that four cargoes which are all from the same source also contained methanol-blended PMS,” the NNPC CEO said.
Kyari had initially listed MRS, Oando, and its own marketing agent Duke Oil, among three others as culprits.
READ ALSO: Dirty Fuel: Oando Denies, Vows To Assist NNPC Identify Root Causes
The national oil company and its subsidiaries said it would cost quite some money to dilute or clean the impurities in the over 170 million litres of PMS. Expert technical analyses of the proposed cleaning process suggested that over N201 billion could be spent by the NNPC to put the already isolated volume back to the market for use.
At least three of the petroleum products marketing companies, including MRS and Oando, have strongly denied complicity.
MRS particularly mentioned NNPC and Duke Oil as being directly involved.
Oando, on its part, said the contamination could have happened after the products were imported and offered to assist the NNPC in further investigation.
MRS Denies Importing Contaminated Fuel Into Nigeria