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09 July 2017

Absence Of Regulation Partly To Blame For Oil Contamination At BOST- NPA Boss

The Acting CEO of the National Petroleum Authority suspects the absence of regulation of offspec products is the reason for the serial oil contamination at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company.

Hasan Tampuli is therefore insisting on regulation as one of the immediate steps to solving the oil contamination canker in the country.

Speaking on Newsfile, the NPA boss said it is more in the interest of consumers and the country at large for offspec products to be regulated than it is for unadulterated products.

He said when offspec products end up in the vehicles of unsuspecting drivers, engines are destroyed sometimes with dire consequences.

Hassan Tampuli said his outfit is taking all the legal steps to ensure a well regulated regime for offspec products.

Offspec Products

Offspec products are oil products that do not meet standard quality approval for use by consumers.

They are either contaminated oil which is caused by a mixture of diesel and petrol; slop is the residue left behind by either diesel or petrol. There are other types of offspec products.

In recent times offspec products have become dominant in Ghana’s petroleum downstream operations with oil contamination being the most prominent.

In January this year, over 5 million liters of oil was contaminated in a controversy that has gotten politicians in a contest of accusations and members of the civil society wailing.

Controversy

The Minority NDC is accusing the Managing Director at BOST Alfred Obeng of fraud. They do not understand why Mr Obeng should sell the offspec product to two unlicensed companies- Movenpiina and Zupp Oil. But the Majority NPP has also vehemently defended the MD.

The workers of BOST whose duty it is to store the fuel in good condition but have contaminated it on several occasions, have also rose to the defence of the under fire BOST boss.

They argued the January 18 contamination was not the first time the fuel has been contaminated and that it happened in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

There has been a number of investigations into the contamination saga with the BNI and Ministry of Energy both conducting its own investigation.

The BNI has concluded its investigation with the Ministry yet to begin its own version.

Regulation

In the heat of the controversy, one thing is certain. There is no law regulating offspec products and how they are disposed off, even though the law specifies how unadulterated products should be regulated.

Discussing the matter on Newsfile, the NPA boss believes the absence of regulation of offspec product is partly the reason for the serial contamination of the fuel

“..This thing (contamination) has been going on under the impression that this product is not supposed to be regulated.

“..We have taken the view upon our interpretation of the law we believe that offspec products should as much as any other spec product be regulated.

“It is more imperative to regulate offspec products because of the dangers they pose more than regulated products..” he stated.

Even though many unlicensed oil companies have in the past bought offspec products, the NPA boss said they have taken the initiative to sanitize the system and ensure that all companies interested in dealing in offspec products must be licensed.

He admitted that unlicensed companies that deal in regulated products are fined an amount of 10,000 cedis and are forced to get their licenses.

When he was asked whether Movenpiina and Zupp Oil will be fined, he said the NPA is set to issue a final report on the 5 million oil contamination controversy and a decision will be made after investigations are concluded.

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