The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) recently announced, its readiness to fight against adulteration of petroleum products. Its Director-General, Dr. Joseph Odumodu who disclosed this at a media briefing in Lagos explained that the exercise which is aimed at curbing adulteration of petrol and diesel would begin with the testing of petroleum products in the country.
According to Odumodu, a nationwide sampling conducted by SON on Petroleum products showed a high level of adulteration at different levels of distribution. He said that though the monitoring and testing of the products had been on for six months, a full scale test would start in February.
Indeed, this is a step in the right direction, though belated. Belated in the sense that several explosions caused by adulterated petroleum products such as fuel, diesel, gas and kerosene had been recorded in this country, most of which claimed lives and properties of the citizens. The Nigerian economy through a deliberate utilisation of human and materials resources and services in the exploration, development, exploitation, transportation and sale of crude oil and gas resources can not compromise quality, health, safety and environmental standards.
The consequences of adulterated fuel, diesel and kerosene are enormous and have been suffered by many in this country and already seen. Such consequences dip into the negative and the acts remain unchanged. Many people are not mindful of the devilish effect of petroleum adulteraton because they want to make quick money.
As part of government, it is pertinent that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria show that it is also sensitive to the yearnings of the average Nigerian, especially now that the price of fuel has gone up to N97 per litre.
The execise will ensure that the consumer actually gets one litre of quality product at the current pump price of petrol.
But it is suprising to note that the SON has been carrying out this test and Nigerians continue to witness incidents resulting from adulteration of petroleum products and the organisation continues to get complaints from consumers, especially in the manufacturing sector of the negative effect of adulterated petroleum products on their equipment.
It is important to check and discourage adulteration of petroleum products such as PMS otherwise called petrol, diesel and kerosene but it is more important to focus on and promote standard while close-marking the marketers and their companies.
This is why the Oil and Gas suppliers in the country in November last year launched on enlightenment campaign to check adulteration of petroleum products with focus on its members. The move, according to the group, was to educate them on the dangers of petroleum products adulteration and the need to identify with the group.The body which is a branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) was reported to have absolved Petrol Tanker Drivers (PTD) from the blame of adultration, saying “It is the Petroleum Suppliers that perpetrate the atrocity because they are the owners of the product that is being transferred”.
The union said: “Adulteration is not the fault of tanker drivers, the fault is from the products owners. It is when you buy the product that you give instruction on what to do. It is the products owners or the suppliers that do the adulteration in order to make more gains”.
According to NUPENG, Zenon chapter Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Nwadi, “OGS had written to retail outlets in the country to consider any product without OGS seal as having been tampered with, adding that all tanker trucks that are used for distribution of petroleum products usually have their Manholes and outlets secured with numbered seals by depot owners and transport companies, this is the strategy that we are adopting. No tanker driver is allowed to go with his truck without the prescribed seals”.
It is better to draw distinction between genuine and adulterated products to avoid some pitfalls, so with the government’s drive to fully achieve considerable quality in the petroleum industry, it is necessary to enact a law against adulteration of petroleum products. The emphasis should be on value addition to the economy by the industry.
The task ahead of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria in the effort to curb adulteration of petroleum products is to identify those perpetrating the act and make sure that the testing and monitoring of the products are done on regular basis and offenders punished. The professionalism and efficiency of the team in its monitoring and compliance tasks should depend largely on the measures of its autonomy and the extent to which it is guided by the spirit of the law. Considering the dangers inherent in the use of adulterated petroleum products, there should be a law which provides that defaulters are sanctioned by the relevant authority or institution while there is a sound regulatory tone for the industry, petroleum suppliers and marketers.
The law must provide that non-compliance with the provisions of the law would be punishable with a fine or cancellation of the business or withdrawal of the operator’s license. Reduction or total eradication of adulteration in the petroleum industry is one of the milestones the government or Standards Organisation of Nigeria should aim to achieve as the exercise begins in February.
If steadfastly carried out, which is the definite intent of SON and government, the exercise have great impact on the economy. The milestones expected from the exercise include retention of quality of petroleum and gas products, economic growth and raising scale of activities of the industry and increased utilisation of the products, creating good business image for the country, save lives and properties among others.
The Nigerian national petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had been pursuing a policy-based production model of petroleum products in the oil and gas industry and had provided guidance to ensure that the products are strictly guided. SON should build a robust collaboration among all key stakeholders to ensure that the exercise becomes an inimitable reality that forms the strategic framework upon which genuine petroleum products are sold to consumers or Nigerians.
Nigerians should wholly support the organisation in carrying out this exercise which will add value to the oil and gas industry and help to facilitate and encourage exploration and production processes, which will in turn help Nigeria to maintain its leading role in providing energy to the rest of the world. Now that SON is seriously working hard to stop adulteration of petroleum products, it will put Nigeria on the global map of quality petrol and diesel production and boost the nation’s economy as well as put the country on the path to the 20:2020 Vision or target.
Oil and gas companies should now renew their commitment to quality production as that would help to build their market strategies and capacities and also save lives and properties. Production and distribution of quality petroleum products will also enhance their opportunities to develop an in-country capacity and competency, which would aid federal Government realise its aspirations for sustainable growth and development.
The planned exercise by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria will definitely encourage and increase domestic and industrial use of petroleum products in the country and improve oil demand internationally.