MRS Oil, a leading player in Nigeria’s downstream oil sector, has noted that contrary to speculations, the contaminated fuel currently causing anxiety in the country, was brought into the country by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC), through its subsidiary, Duke Oil.
The Federal Government had, yesterday, through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, in a statement said fuel with methanol quantities above the country’s specification, was discovered in the supply chain.
It also said oil marketers had been directed to ensure sufficient supply of petrol in all outlets in the country.
“The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (The Authority) wishes to inform the general public that limited quantity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as Petrol, with methanol quantities above Nigeria’s specification was discovered in the supply chain,” the statement said.
“Methanol is a regular additive in Petrol and usually blended in an acceptable quantity.
“To ensure vehicular and equipment safety, the limited quantity of the impacted product has been isolated and withdrawn from the market, including the loaded trucks in transit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.
“Meanwhile, NNPC has intensified efforts at increasing the supply of Petrol into the market in order to bridge any unforeseen supply gap.”
Queues had surfaced in filling stations in parts of the country, particularly Abuja and Lagos, on Monday stretching into Tuesday and Wednesday. And while the controversy persisted, speculations emerged to the effect that the contaminated fuel may have been imported by MRS Oil.
However, refuting the allegation, the energy firm in a statement by its management on Wednesday, said it had nothing to do with the contaminated product, even as it blamed Duke Oil, a subsidiary of the NNPC whose operation is shrouded in secrecy, for the development.
“It has come to the knowledge of MRS Oil Nigeria Plc that ‘MRS’ has been quoted, used speculatively on various social media platforms and in other national dailies as being solely responsible for the importation and distribution of substandard and contaminated Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) in the country,” the statement said.
“We want to reassure the public and all relevant authorities, that ‘MRS’ is a responsible corporate citizen and will not be involved in the purchase, importation, distribution or marketing of substandard petroleum products in Nigeria.
“It is therefore necessary that any media, reporting this false information which has resulted in the defamation of the Company’s brand and image, must immediately refrain from doing so and endeavor to check the facts before printing unauthenticated information and statements, which would affect the goodwill of the Company and the investing public.
“For this reason the Management of ‘MRS’ writes to inform the public of the facts which has resulted in product scarcity in the country: Due to current subsidy regime, NNPC is the sole supplier of all PMS in Nigeria. Consequently, NNPC through their trading arm Duke Oil, supplied a cargo of PMS purchased from international trader Litasco and delivered it with Motor Tanker (MT) Nord Gainer.
“This vessel discharged in Apapa between January 24 and 30, 2022 and the following Major Marketers with receiving quantities were the recipients of the product:
OVH 10,000 mt;
MRS 5,000 mt;
NIPCO 5,958 mt;
ARDOVA 6,000 mt;
TOTAL 10,000 mt.
“As one of the beneficiaries, MRS received the product in its depot and distributed the product to only eight of its stations in Lagos. Following delivery into tank, it was observed that the product appeared hazy and dark; Management immediately directed that further sale(s) should be stopped and the product isolated. Urgent steps were taken to analyze the product to determine the basis for its contamination.
“The product analysis revealed that the PMS discharged by MT Nord Ganier had 20% methanol, which is an illegal substance in Nigeria. As a Company, we are aware that alcohol/ethanol is not permitted to be mixed in PMS specification. We immediately informed NNPC, NMDPRA and MOMAN and it was confirmed that other Members had similar experiences.
“As at the time of this Press Release, ‘MRS’ had a total of 350,000 litres in tank at the eight stations; we await approval from NNPC and NMDPRA for the return of the product. The eight stations have been isolated, but there are other tanks within the stations, which will receive uncontaminated product for sale as soon as possible.
“In view of the above, ‘MRS’ will continue to work with NNPC and NMDPRA, for the evacuation of the contaminated product to NNPC, who is the sole supplier of the product. We are aware that NNPC has taken necessary steps to reject further imports of this product from Litasco /Duke Oil and/or any other trader, supplying fuels which contain ethanol/methanol into Nigeria.
“The allegation reported against the Company that ‘MRS’ imported contaminated products, is therefore mischievous, false and untrue. ‘MRS’ is not an importer of this contaminated PMS into the country, nor does ‘MRS’ sell substandard products.
“We are by this Press release, informing the media and general public that all products currently dispensed/sold out of all MRS stations (with the exception of the recent product received from NNPC), are on-spec and are of the highest quality.
“We implore our esteemed customers to continue to patronize ‘MRS’ stations nationwide, while we assure you that any and all product(s) currently sold are not contaminated.”
Duke, an NNPC trading subsidiary said to have been registered in 1989 in Panama, under the Ibrahim Babangida administration, has reportedly been the sole importer of fuel into Nigeria under the President Muhammadu Buhari government.