New Telegraph

Why there’s fuel scarcity, by regulator

The Federal Government on Tuesday, admitted the existence of adulterated petroleum products in the country.


The government, in a statement issued by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and made available to the New Telegraph Newspaper, said that it has recalled such fuels from the market and also ordered the National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and other agencies to monitor the sector well, with a view to ensure that such incidents do not occur again in the country.


Trucks containing adulterated fuel, the government  said, have also been withdrawn from the market, in order to put a stop to the ugly incident. Government, however, blamed the scarcity being experienced on the isolation and withdrawal of petrol discovered to have contacted methanol quantities that are above the nation’s specifications.


Methanol is a regular additive in petrol and usually blended in an acceptable quantity. According to NMDPRA, it has identified the petroleum products that have methanol in large quantities and withdrawn them from the market, in order to ensure safety of vehicles and equipment in the country.


Continuing further, the agency said that it has identified the supplier of adulterated fuel, adding that adequate sanctions shall be taken on such people soon. Meanwhile, the agency has also ordered an increase in the distribution and supply of PMS into the system in an effort to end the scarcity.


Similarly, the Chief Executive officer, Petrocam Nigeria Limited, Mr Patrick Ilo, said that the claims in some quarters that Nigeria has sulphuric fuel was wrong, adding that many people are mistaking methanol for sulphur. Continuing further, Ilo said that crude oil has no sulphuric contents, nor petroleum products.


He said: “It is crude oil that has sulphur, not the petrol that is a by-product of crude oil. Crude oil passes through a stage known as distillation, a process through which crude becomes petroleum products.


Anything that has been distilled does not have sulphur.” Explaining further he said that: “The fuel, which Nigeria is importing has methanol, not sulphur.


Methanol is for tropical regions like Africa. Nigeria is in the tropics, which means the ethanol is good for the country. However, the problem of Nigeria is that it uses the lowest grade of ethanol “‘


Giving a graphic picture of ethanol contents in fuel, Ilo said the ethanol content is usually 0.72 percent, adding that once it is above that level, it is not good for the country. In other climes, especially Europe where the atmosphere is very cold, ethanol is very good because it helps in heating their environment.


He said that fuel with higher ethanol contents is good for vehicles that are aerodynamic in nature. Ilo describes aerodynamic cars as those ones with latest technologies, adding owners of those vehicles, who fail to use distilling facilities in them properly, stand the risk of spending money to repair them. Recall that NNPC formulated a policy known as Direct Sales and Direct Supply (DSDS) in order to deepen the growth of the sector.

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