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Reps grill oil firms over dirty fuel imports

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), on Tuesday, grilled two of the four contractors engaged by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited via a Direct-Sale-Direct-Purchase deal in the importation of contaminated Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), which has led to a major disruption in the fuel supply chain in the country.

The two oil firms which appeared before the committee at its second investigative hearing include Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium and MRS Holdings.

Both companies denied any wrongdoing in the importation of off-spec fuel, arguing that the NNPC officials examined the petroleum product and certified it okay.

The committee, however, requested written submissions and documentary evidence of their claims.

The Group Chief Operating Officer, MRS Holdings, Amina Maina, in her presentation, said the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Melee Kyari, had cleared MRS when he appeared before the committee last week.

Maina said, “Yes, there have been a lot of conversations regarding whether or not we brought in fuel which was contaminated. Let me state that there is an approved specification of PMS which is imported into Nigeria. That specification is the product which we brought and I think the GMD of the NNPC also attested to the fact that the product which we brought onboard the MT Bow Pioneer was tested at the load port (LITASCO Terminal, Antwerp-Belgium) and it met Nigeria’s specification.

“On arrival, it was tested by the NNPC inspectors; it met specification. Before the vessel was discharged, the normal procedure is that the NDMPRA will have their inspectors test and certify before it is discharged. And all of that was done and certified okay before the vessel was discharged.

“We did not bring in any adulterated fuel. We have all the load port documents which are basically the certificate of quality at the load port, the certificate of quantity, the bill of laden; all the documents.”

The Chairman of the committee, Abdullahi Gaya, noted that the lawmakers had engaged the NNPC and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority last week, “for them to explain and give us documents, and we have already informed them that after going through the documents, we are going to invite them again.”

Gaya added, “If we have any other thing that we need to verify, we will call them; they have to tell us. “For now, it is just for her (Maina) to explain, give us the documents, then, we will go through the documents. If there is the need to call her back, we will call her.”

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