Energy Minister inaugurates c’tte to unravel cause of fuel contamination

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A nine-member investigative committee has been inaugurated by the Minister of Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko, to unravel the mystery surrounding how the contamination of five million litres of fuel (off spec) occurred at the Accra Plains Depot of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST) Company Limited.

The committee is chaired by Dr Lawrence Darkwah, the Head of the Chemical Engineering Department of the School of Engineering of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi.

The other members are representatives of state agencies such as the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), the Energy Commission, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA).

Terms of reference

The committee is expected to, within one month, submit a detailed report on the circumstances that created the off spec product at BOST and review the procedure that was undertaken by the company to evacuate the product.

“The committee is also expected to ascertain the quality and quantity of the remaining product and determine if the product can be corrected, and if not, determine the alternative use of the product,” Mr Agyarko said.

It is also charged to review the entire transactions between BOST and some entities to evacuate the off spec product.

“The committee is expected to advise the Ministry of Energy on the necessary technical, administrative and legal actions to be taken in respect of the issue at hand,” the minister added.

Mr Agyarko gave an assurance that the ministry would get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding the occurrence of the off spec and the transactions that followed, stressing: “We want to ensure that the integrity of petroleum products supplied to the public is protected.”

Background

On Wednesday, June 28, 2017, there were media reports that five million litres of contaminated or off spec fuel from the Accra Plains Depot of BOST had been released onto the market.

Following that report and the subsequent public outcry, the NPA conducted preliminary investigations and disclosed that Movenpinaa Energy and Zup Oil, the two companies that acquired 471,00 litres of the contaminated oil from BOST, were not licensed to operate in the oil and gas sector.

In the midst of the brouhaha that ensued following the NPA revelation, the Minority in Parliament called for the head of the Managing Director of BOST, Mr Alfred Obeng, alleging that the sale of the off spec had run the country into a huge debt.

The African Centre for Energy Transformation (ACET), IMANI Africa and other civil society organisations also waded into the BOST saga, calling for full-scale investigations into the issue.

While all this was going on, the BNI came out with an investigative report that exonerated the BOST managing director from any wrongdoing.

The report also recommended that the committee that the Minister of Energy had announced to investigate the off spec saga be set aside, a recommendation that stirred controversy among a section of the public.

The setting up of the committee by the Minister of Energy is expected to bring the matter to a conclusion.

Credit: Graphic.com

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