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FG Rejects Two Cargoes Of Adulterated Petrol Imported From Belgium

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STI SYMPHONY makes U-turn off coast of Guinea

OPEC’s production drops by 700,000bpd

Following the circulation of adulterated petrol in Nigeria, which damaged vehicle engines last week, the federal government has turned back two tankers carrying petrol loaded in Antwerp, Belgium, and destined for Lagos.

This is coming as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies have continued to produce crude oil below their production targets, with the group’s output falling by a record 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) below its collective quotas in January.

The off-specification fuel, it was learnt, was rejected amid the raging controversy over the bad fuel in circulation in the country, which led to the disruption of the country’s supply chain, resulting in long queues in filling stations across the country.

The current problematic supply of petrol, which grounded movements in Abuja, Lagos and some other parts of the country, was made worse by the shortage of inventory, according to the figures released by the sole importer, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).

As at yesterday, majority of filling stations in Abuja were shut even as motorists spent hours in the sun struggling to buy from the few that were open.

The imported cargoes were said to have high methanol content, while marketers were advised not to sell to consumers, after over 100 million litres were said to have been in circulation.

But quoting Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking and other sources, Reuters reported that the two tankers, STI SYMPHONY and VELOS DIAMANTIS, were turned back by the federal government against the backdrop of other petrol cargoes loaded in Antwerp for containing too much methanol.

According to a fixture list from a ship broker and Refinitiv Eikon data, Litasco chartered the STI SYMPHONY for January 15 to take 90,000 tonnes of petrol to West Africa.

The STI SYMPHONY loaded petrol in Antwerp around January 22 before sailing to Lagos, but has now been turned back, according to the Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking.

However, the tanker did a U-turn off the coast of Guinea on February and is now heading back to the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp oil hub, Reuters reported.

According to the report, NNPC did not respond to a request for comment. Litasco had previously said it does not comment on trading activities and did not immediately respond to a query on the STI Symphony.

The VELOS DIAMANTIS, carrying 60,000 tonnes, and allegedly chartered by Mercuria, did a U-turn on February 4, after showing Lagos as its destination, Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking showed. A Mercuria source, however, said the company no longer owns the tanker’s cargo.

The NNPC had while labouring to absolve itself of complicity in the importation and distribution of millions of litres of the bad product into the country, named Belgium as the country of origin of the adulterated fuel.

Amid the damage done to vehicles in some states in the country, the federal government had vowed to investigate the matter with a view to bringing the culprits to book.

Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, however, stated that from his investigation, the four petrol cargoes were imported by MRS, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium and Oando.

All the companies mentioned, aside Duke Oil, the NNPC’s trading arm, have since denied complicity.

Ironically, Kyari had maintained that the cargoes’ quality certificates issued at the loading port in Belgium, by AmSpec Belgium, indicated that the product complied with the Nigerian specification.

Furthermore, he said the NNPC quality inspectors including GMO, SGS, GeoChem and G&G conducted tests before discharge, which showed that the cargo also met the country’s standard.

He stated that all defaulting suppliers had been put on notice for remedial actions, stressing that the NNPC would work wi

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