OrderPaperToday- Duke Oil and Oando Plc. have refuted culpability in the importation of the adulterated fuel that hit the country recently.
The two companies refused to take responsibility for any wrongdoing when it appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) investigating the circumstances surrounding the adulterated product.
Managing Director of Duke Oil, Lawal Sade during the presentation said the product brought in by his company was duly certified both at the Port of loading and the Port of discharge by the relevant authorities.
He also said they were notified by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), a few hours after discharge that the product had some particles which made them to discontinue distribution immediately.
Sade has also stated that the product has since been quarantined.
“Duke Oil is an international trading company engaged in petrol and crude oil products. It is a wholly-owned 100% NNPC subsidiary vested with the responsibility of trading petroleum products both internationally and locally. And it’s important to mention that Duke Oil is a very complying company with long years of experience in international trading.”
“Coming to the crux of the matter, the supply of the PMS to NNPC onboard NPNote gariner, with IMO no 947720 with bill of landing dated January 7, just to give a background as well, in November 2021, NNPC issued a request as part of the strategic restocking to national energy security,” he stated.
Mr. Chairman, yes, there was a delivery of cargo by Duke Oil like you have seen in the report and that cargo met up with the Nigerian spec as it is both at the loading and discharge ports.
There was a confirmation by the regulator which is the new Nigerian midstream, downstream authority to discharge that cargo within the stipulated date. The cargo discharged and the vessel sailed. It was just after 24 hours of operation then, Duke Oil was notified by the NNPC that there was a complaint from some of their customers that the cargo has some particles.
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“So, Mr. Chairman, with the notification from PPMC/NNPC, immediately, the management of Duke Oil authorised the NNPC not to evacuate the cargo any further and requested for a re-certification. But it is important we reiterate the fact that the cargo has been certified by the Midstream and then, there is a joint inspection before the discharge, and the specification provided in the contract with NNPC meets up the Nigerian specification.
And then, some remedial actions were taken immediately, Mr. Chairman, to conclude the report and give an assurance to this hon. Committee and indeed, all Nigerians that Duke Oil as a wholly-owned subsidiary of NNPC and commercially driven company, we are not just in business to make money but also to guarantee the energy security of our great nation and we never compromise the quality of the product we supply to Nigeria and any other place we do business and we will always seek to maintain this positive position.
“Duke Oil had no prior knowledge and was not notified by the supplier via any communication about the presence of methanol addictive in the cargo procured and all relevant quality certification at ports both load and discharge ports did not attest to the presence of methanol until when the cargo has been received by NNPC, Mr. Chairman.
“And as a responsible government entity, we share the pains Nigerians have gone through as a result of the subsequent discovery and quarantine of the methanol blended PMS and subsequent hardship it caused to all of us.
And what we did, Mr. Chairman, as a shareholder in NNPC, we partner with them to ensure that the quarantine process is taking place and then, as the supply of the last resort, we give back and ensure that there is continuous flow of petroleum products across the country.
“We understand the hardship and inconveniences that resulted from the issue as mentioned earlier, Duke Oil had already taken necessary steps by creating additional layers. That’s our submission. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.”
On his part, the representative of Oando Plc, Afanga Afanga who also appeared before the committee said that their product met the Nigerian specification.
“In line with our Direct Sale Direct Purchase contract with NNPC, on the 16th of January 2022, we delivered 90MT worth of PMS onboard the Vessel MT Elka Apollon. It is important to note that this PMS cargo that was supplied met and was in line with all the Nigerian and DSDP contractual specifications.
“This was confirmed by the mandatory tests that were conducted at the loading port in Europe and before discharge in Nigeria by an independent NNPC quality inspectors and finally by agents of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority. It is on this basis that the cargo was certified and accepted for discharge by NNPC.
“As clearly stated by NNPC last week when they were before this honourable committee, its current inspection protocol does not include testing for methanol content and thus was not detected by the NNPC quality inspectors.
The most important thing at this juncture for us is to work with NNPC as we are committed to ensuring that what is brought into the country is well treated and the issues around the situation are alleviated for Nigerians.
We have given assurances and we have also been able to show to be following the right protocol that we followed and there was nothing that was breached as being alleged,” he said
Ruling on the matter, Chairman of the Committee, Abdullahi Gaya (APC, Kano) asked both companies to standby that they could be re-invited after perusal of their submissions
“We have not digested the documents but based on the summary you have given, I will allow members to ask questions.
Then, in due course, we are going to invite you again to come and explain if there is a need for that, based on the documents that you brought,” he said.