Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, has explained how contaminated Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was imported into country from Belgium.
“It is important to note that the usual quality inspection protocol employed in both the load port in Belgium and our discharge ports in Nigeria do not include the test for Percent methanol content and therefore the additive was not detected by our quality inspectors,” Mr Kyari told journalists at the briefing.
The NNPC boss did not give the date of import but disclosed that the NNPC found out about the situation late in January.
“On 20th January 2022, NNPC received a report from our quality inspector on the presence of emulsion particles in PMS cargoes shipped to Nigeria from Antwerp-Belgium,” he said.
“NNPC investigation revealed the presence of Methanol in Four (4) PMS cargoes.”
He listed the companies as MRS, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium, Oando, and Duke Oil.
MRS used the vessel, MT Bow Pioneer; Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium imported the product via the vessel MT Tom Hilde; Oando used the vessel MT Elka Apollon, while Duke Oil imported its PMS using MT Nord Gainer.
The NNPC GMD explained that the fact that the PMS contained Methanol was not detected by checks because the quality checks do not include checks for Methanol percentage.
He said, “Cargoes quality certificates issued at load port (Antwerp-Belgium) by AmSpec Belgium indicate that the gasoline complied with Nigerian Specification.
“The NNPC quality inspectors including GMO, SGS, GeoChem and G&G conducted tests before discharge also showed that the gasoline met Nigerian specification.
“As a standard practice for all PMS import to Nigeria, the cargoes were equally certified by inspection agent appointed by the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority has met Nigerian specification.
“It is important to note that the usual quality inspection protocol employed in both the load port in Belgium and our discharge ports in Nigeria do not include the test for Percent methanol content and therefore the additive was not detected by our quality inspectors.”
He assured Nigerians that the NNPC was sourcing additional cargoes to meet PMS demands and that “to prevent the distribution of the petrol, we have ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes and the holding back of all the affected products in transit (both truck & marine)”.
As for the suppliers of the affected products, the NNPC boss said they had been “put on notice for remedial actions and NNPC will work with the authority to take further necessary actions in line with subsisting regulations”.