The acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Alhassan Tampuli, has indicated that the two companies confirmed to have purchased the over 5 million litres of contaminated fuel from the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company will be sanctioned with at least a fine.
The companies, Zup Oil and Movenpinaa Energy, will however also be allowed to regularise their operations with the NPA, according to the acting NPA CEO.
They are not licensed to undertake any commercial activity in the downstream petroleum industry thus, their activities infringe on section 11 of the National Petroleum Authority Act, ACT 691, 2005.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Tampuli said “there is a standard sanction that we impose on such petroleum service providers who do not have licences to operate. What we do is to enforce these sanctions which are known to everybody in the industry. For every trivial activity that they engage in, they pay GHc10,500.”
Mr. Tampuli added that, the NPA is “in the process of reviewing those guidelines to include the possibility of confiscating assets of those companies if they do not get licences before they start operating.”
The NPA has however “asked them [Zup Oil, Movenpinaa] to come and regularize their operations because they are not known and if they are not known, they are not bound by the guidelines and regulations we have in the sector.”
The NPA, has said it will take legal action against the firms, whiles it conducts further investigation to determine the actual quantity and quality of the products received.
The contaminated fuel story was brought to the fore by a Citi News report, indicating that Ghana lost about GHc 7 million in revenue following attempts by BOST to sell the fuel.
BOST could also be sanctioned
BOST will also face some sanctions if found culpable in the controversial sale of the over-5 million litres of contaminated fuel.
“That is not to say that after we have completed our investigation and BOST is seen to have misconducted itself or to have engaged in some conduct that is condemnable, we will do so, and we will send them sanctions.”
“If you breach the rules, we will apply the sanctions. We are not in any way pampering this matter because it is BOST,” Mr. Tampuli said.
Below are the initial findings of the NPA’s investigations so far
BOST had at their premises, 5 million litres of an off-spec product. This is alleged to have resulted from BOST accidentally discharging gasoline into a diesel storage tank wich already contained some diesel sometime in January 2017.
The tank containing the off-spec product was subsequently isolated from normal marketing and sales operations whilst investigations into the incident was initiated by BOST.
Based on the recommended disposal options by a Committee that investigated the incident, BOST opted to sell off the off-spec product to a company known as Movenpinna Energy.
Subsequently, BOST notified the Ghana Revenue Authority of their intention to dispense of the 5 million litres of the off-spec product from its storage. The process of evacuation commenced on 20th June, 2017. So far, the quantity of the off-spec product evacuated from the depot is 471,00 litres as indicated below:
On 20th June, 2017: 240,000 litres was evacuated
On 21st June, 2017, 231,000 litres was evacuated (the stated quantities were loaded into ten Bulk Road Vehicles)
On 23rd June, 2017, additional 380,00 litres of the off-spec product was loaded into eight BRVs at the depot. However, the dispatch of these BRVs from the depot was halted on the instructions of the NPA when information about the evacuation got to the NPA. This is because BOST failed to notify the NPA and acquire prior authorization before commencing the evacuation of the off-spec product. Officials of the NPA visited the BOST depot on 27th June, 2017 and confirmed that the 8 BRVs were still stationed at the depot with their contents intact. Samples were taken from all 8 BRVs as well as the isolated BOST storage tank for analysis.
The NPA was able to discover the location where 6 of the BRVs discharged the off-spec product the carried from the BOST depot. This was made possible by the NPA’s BRV tracking system.
Officials from the NPA visited the location (Zup Oil) at Gulf-City, Tema on 27th June, 2017. Documentation presented to the officials suggested that all ten BRVs were offloaded at the facility, however, this is subject to confirmation. In this regard the NPA is conducting further investigations to determine the actual quantity and quality of the products received at the facility of Zup Oil. Meanwhile, samples of the product from the tanks have been taken for analysis and the tanks sealed to prevent tampering.