Nigerians, particularly those in Abuja, Lagos, and neighboring states, awoke this week to find themselves amid a petrol shortage, along with the attendant hardships at filling stations.
It was confirmed that stakeholders in the fuel importation and distribution system had to prohibit the sale of unclean gasoline, which was causing damage to fuel station pumps and vehicle engines, resulting in shortages. Methanol, which is used to mix Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, was found in high concentrations in a huge shipment of imported fuel.
As of Tuesday, February 8, 2022, the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) promised that up to 80 million liters of filthy gasoline had been withdrawn, working closely with the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
Importing low-quality gasoline and diesel is one of the many costs associated with our reliance on petroleum imports. Nigeria is the only member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with insufficient refining capacity on the ground.
Nigeria produces Bonny Light premium grade crude oil, however, is still forced to deal with the implications of importing low-quality refined petroleum products, primarily from Europe, where manufacturers would not sell the same quality of products to their local customers due to excessive Sulphur content.
Nigeria has some of the most polluted air in the world, according to the Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) since it is a significant dumping site for dirty gasoline. Tests show that the diesel we buy from Europe exceeds the European Sulphur standard by 152 times, whereas PMS exceeds it by 40 times.
Sulphur levels in clean gasoline should not exceed 50ppm (parts per million), however imports from Europe can have as much as 3,000ppm.
Even the diesel and PMS generated in the clandestine bush refineries in the Niger Delta creeks are determined to be significantly cleaner than imported petroleum products from Europe, owing to the superior quality of our Bonny Light oil.
Adulteration of petrol would be a rare occurrence if refineries in the country were operational.
Apart from failing to ensure that its refineries are operational, the government has frequently failed in its regulatory job of assuring the importation of clean petroleum products throughout the years.
Regulatory agencies in the government must wake up and perform their duties. When authorities fail to protect the public from unwarranted pain, there should be penalties. Failure to regulate equates to failure to govern, which is awfully bad.