A raging storm is brewing over alleged sale of contaminated petroleum products by Ghana’s state owned Bulk Oil Storage Company (BOST) to consumers.

BOST is accused of selling some five million liters of off-spec petroleum product — product that does not meet national standards — to a company called Movenpiina.

According to investigations by African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), the product got contaminated through an accidental blend of petrol and diesel which occurred when a petrol flow-line was misdirected into a diesel tank during a discharge of petrol cargo into the Accra plains depot of the state-run institutions which store strategic fuel reserves for use in times of need.

Following the revelation by civil society group, Public Eye in Switzerland that Ghana had been the dumping ground for dirty fuel for some time, ACEP and other stakeholders have worked with the government to arrive at a consensus to change the regulated sulfur content from the current 3000ppm to 50ppm, effective from 1st July, 2017.

Industry watchers express worry that instead of refining the product to purify it, BOST allegedly sold it to a company which was yet to be registered.

Both the parliamentary minority and the pro-government ACEP are calling for investigations into the deal.

“The norm and practice is that, when such contaminations occur, corrective treatment of these products are undertaken by the Tema Oil Refinery through blending. Why did BOST not arrange with TOR for the treatment of this particular fuel? Available information indicates that BOST failed to exhaust all means to ensure TOR blends this contaminated fuel,” Emmanuel Amarh-Kofi Buah, Minority Spokesperson on Mines and Energy, told the press here on Tuesday.

He described as untenable the excuse by BOST that the contaminated products were sold for use by manufacturing companies.

The Minority among other demands called for full scale investigation by the regulatory authorities, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), and the immediate withdrawal of the contaminated product from the market to protect consumers with assurances to prevent such occurrences.

They also urged that the financial loss estimated at 14.25 million Ghana cedis (3.2 million U.S. dollars) be retrieved by surcharging the offending officials at BOST in line with the recent Supreme Court decision.

On their part, ACEP deplored the situation, describing it as a drawback on the quest to sanitize the petroleum marketing space to protect consumers and the environment.

“The government should conduct a full-scale investigation into the sale of the off-spec product to establish the validity or otherwise of the transaction and provide sanctions to those found to have misconducted themselves

“The Head of BOST should step aside immediately to allow the independent inquiry to occur unimpeded,” ACEP said in a statement signed by Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of ACEP.

BOST has however denied any wrongdoing in the deal, describing as normal practice its sale of the off-spec product at 1.30 cedis (1.30p) or 0.29 dollars per liter relative to the normal ex-depot rate of 1.75 cedis (1.75p) or 0.39 dollars for normal products. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh