BOMBSHELL: Zup Oil sold some 300 Litres of Contaminated Fuel

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The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s perceived use of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and National Security to perpetrate a cover-up of the corrupt sale of 5million litres of contaminated fuel has received, arguably, its most erudite blowback yet.

A group calling itself, Deeply Concerned Ghanaians, has dropped the bombshell that Zupp Oil, the company which got to cart away some 471,000 litres of the contaminated fuel, bloomed their consignment and released some 300,000 litres into the open market.

“About 200,000 to 300,000 litres of contaminated products have surely been released to the market. This is a fact and known in truth by the kg m3 kg m3 kg m3 kg m3 kg m3

“Anyone with ‘ears’ on the ground in Tema is aware of yards in which these products were traded. The products were nicknamed ‘Abolobo,’” the DCG said in a letter to President Akufo-Addo.

The letter, which was copied to the Chairman of the Council of State, urged the President to brush aside the investigation and report by the BNI and National Security and institute a presidential inquiry into the matter.

It is the group’s firm belief that the scandalous sale of the 5million litres of contaminated fuel is a symptom of the operations of a fuel ring cartel, which both Alfred Obeng Boateng, current BOST MD, and Kwame Awuah-Darko, his predecessor, are working for.

To back the emphatic claim on Zupp Oil’s alleged sale of some of the contaminated fuel on the market as “Abolobo”, the group quoted the outcome of chemical tests conducted on Zupp Oil’s consignment of the contaminated fuel sold to it.

The group said a discovery that an Initial Boiling Point (IBP) of Zupp Oil’s consignment is different from the IBP of the original product at BOST showed that Zupp Oil had since re-blended what was sold to it and sold some on the market.

Using mathematical equations and petroleum engineering analysis, DCG explained that a contamination of one fuel product, for example diesel, by another, for example petrol, moderates the density of the composite product, as well as the Initial Boiling Point (IBP).

“The key specifications to look out for in a situation like this are the densities and IBP.”

Those changes in densities, it said, are a function of blending, which implies that to increase density, existing products are mixed with products of higher density, while existing products are mixed with products of lower densities to achieve lower density.

In the case of the IBP, the relationship in blending is subject to the chemical composition of both products. As a result, a blending of a litre of a product of an IBP of 100 with another product of an IBP of 200 does automatically result in an IBP of 150.

On the basis of the foregoing, samples of the contaminated fuel were taken from both BOST and Zupp Oil, by the NPA for testing at the Tema Oil Refinery. The NPA had taken one sample from BOST and three different samples from Zupp Oil.

At the end of the test, DCG said, it emerged that while the BOST sample indicated a diesel density of 806.9, the three samples from Zupp Oil showed densities of 817.4, 829.5 and 823.2 respectively.

Also, the group said, the IBPs of the samples turned out differently, with the IBP of the sample taken from BOST measuring 52, while the IBPs of the three samples from Zupp Oil had registered, 50, 52 and 56, separately.

“Please note that the density standard for diesel is 820 (min) to 850 and minimum IBP expected in 160. The results indicate that the original contaminated product lifted from BOST at a density of 806.9 has been blended by Zupp Oil with heavier diesel to yield higher densities… When blending occurs, volume increases (additional products are introduced to mix the existing products),”

The DCG pointed out that NPA in its reports had indicated that it was unable to account for about 55 or 47 thousand litres during its first search. This, according to the group, indicates that there were no surplus volumes.

“The above results yields a sample average density of 819.25 d. Assuming Zupp Oil accessed the heaviest allowable diesel of 850 density to blend the products in its custody, it will require about 189,165 litres to achieve the density in point ‘c’ (823.2) above. If the quality accessed by Zupp Oil was 840 , it would have required a minimum 280,329 litres.

“If no products were released to market, the NPA would have observed a minimum 471,000 ltrs + 189,165 = 751,329 ltrs. NPA observed a total volume of 471,000 ltrs in Zupoil’s facility and not the minimum expected of 751,329ltrs…  Zupoil and Movenpinaa have possibly misled Ghana by their false representations.

“Inferring from the above, about 200,000 to 300,000 litres of contaminated products have surely been released to the market. This is a fact and known in truth by the kg m3 kg m3 kg m3 kg m3 kg m3.

“Anyone with “ears” on the ground in Tema is aware of yards in which these products were traded. The products were nicknamed “Abolobo.””

The group took a swipe at National Security which had co authored what has turned out to be an embarrassingly shoddy report on the issue, with the BNI, which absolved both the BOST MD, Alfred Obeng Boateng, and the companies involved, of wrongdoing.

“If the President is unaware, then he either has an incompetent intelligence system or he is being clearly lied to. Any reference to the consistency of the IBP as argument against any claim of product release to the market is ill-informed and moot because the IBP as indicated earlier is not linear.”

The group also accused both the NPA and BOST of attempting to perpetrate a cover-up of the scandal, saying they are a part of a cartel  ring behind the smuggling of petroleum products and  dumping in the country which, according to it, cost Ghana GHc800 million every year.

DCG pointed out that glaring inconsistency in statements by the NPA and BOST point to their acting together in collusion to cloud the scandal in the interest of the cartel ring.

“The BOST PRO and Senior Union President were categorical on Joy Fm many times that the volume released to Zupoil was just 100,000 litres. To our utter shock, the NPA on the same day of the BOST claim confirmed that 471,000 litres had been released to Zupoil and an additional 380,000litres loaded but seized. Why was BOST blatantly and deliberately lying to the public?”

“In the same interview above, in one breath, the PRO indicated that products had been sold to some steel factories and in another breath, she said that there no products were released to any industry. BOST in its press statement on the 22nd of June 2017, indicated that it had inspected the premises of Zupoil and was convinced that their storage facility could accommodate could accommodate the volume of product. Mr. President our intelligence indicates that the Zupoil makeshift facility has a maximum 500 thousand litre capacity and not 5 million litres or the 5 million suggested in the press release.”

It accused BOST of deliberately labeling the contaminated fuel as off-spec, even though, according to the group, off-spec is an umbrella definition for a whole lot of impure fuel products, including Slop and sludge, among others.

It questioned the NPA’s trustworthiness, pointing out that the NPA had initially reported that it could not account for 47,000 litres out of the 471,000 litres sold to Zupp Oil during its first inspection.

“In an interview later with Joy FM (two days later), it reports that the product was found in another tank at Zupoil. How could this be? Tanks are visible to any technical person in this industry. How did a tank suddenly surface overnight? This does not add up. It only tells one story, COVER UP and CONTAMINATION OF THE TRUTH.”

In the spirit of the allegation that both BOST and the NPA were playing parts to defend the scandal in order to help the alleged ring cartel to get away with yet another episode of crime, it said both Kwame Awuah-Darko and Alfred Obeng Boateng stand suspicious and must be investigated.

“Prior to the advent of the Awuah-Darko era, selling ‘slop’ was not a norm. Awuah-Darko introduced the art and act of enjoying slop trade. In 2016, about 59 Cargo product changeovers were recorded at the ABB. This will imply that at 3000 ltrs per dislodgement in the EPS for every cargo changeover, the total slop realizable at BOST should be about 177,000 ltrs for the whole of 2016. It is, therefore, suspicious to observe reports of 12.4mn litres of slop sold under Awuah-Darko. Should these reports be accurate, as demanded of you in your oath of office, we expect that you initiate immediate investigations into this matter and prosecute Mr. Awuah-darko and all persons involved.”

On the current MD of BOST, it said, the large scale contamination of diesel with petrol was heavily suspicious as it is an accident that rarely occurs.

“Officials indicate that the contamination was a result of the displacement of petrol in the ABB pipeline into a diesel shore tank at BOST. This we find very surprising. It definitely must be the first time ever. It is almost impossible.

“Prior to the discharge of any cargo through the ABB pipeline, there are pre-berthing meetings in which BOST is represented together with the operator of the ABB facility and the owners of the products to be discharged among others. Information on the type of product to be displaced in the pipeline would be discussed and noted by all.

“The operators of the ABB facility (KMS) liaise with the managers of the BOST APD facility (TSL) before discharge is done. No party commences operations blindly.

“Please bear in mind that the BOST depot is managed by TSL limited who is paid about USD300,000 monthly (previously USD600,000) as management fees.

“This kind of contamination can only be a function of malice or extreme negligence,” the group said.

It explained that it it is negligence then it is a result of bad advice to BOST by service providers on hire. “Negligence in that, Kpone Marine Services (KMS) may have advised BOST/TSL wrongly on the type of product being displaced in the pipeline or BOST/TSL may just have wrongly opened the petrol tank valves instead of the diesel tank valves.

“Reference to negligence in point ‘a’ above, where KMS may have wrongly indicated the type of product in the pipeline, it must be held fully liable and not BOST. Where the wrong valves may have been opened to displace the pipeline cargo, TSL as managers of the depot must be questioned. They have responsibility for the management of the depot. They determine and designate appropriate tanks to receive each cargo. They also authorize actions and inactions in the depot.”

The group said it ought, therefore, to be the case that upon the occurrence of the contamination, either TSL or KMS (or their predecessor) would have been held accountable.

The DCG wondered why BOST has taken responsibility for the contamination instead of holding TSL or KMS responsible. Also, it said that in addition to holding TSL and KMS responsible for the contamination, BOST had the choice and capacity to re-blend to correct the contamination.

“We have conferred with many past and present officials of BOST, TOR and the NPA and have been advised that never has contaminated products been sold to anyone before. It is, therefore, wrong for anyone to claim it is a normal practice. Contaminated products are simply treated by suppressing the less dominant fuel using huge volumes of high quality versions of the dominant fuel. In this case, you will require high quality diesel. Our checks also indicate that in this case, 95 parts of the high-quality product will be required to blend 5 parts of contaminated products. This translates into BOST needing about 95mn litres. Please bear in mind that BOST has a diesel storage capacity at the depot of 109.25 million litres. Also note that products at BOST are comingled. This means that importers do not have isolated tanks for each of their imports.”

It said the only responsible use of contaminated products is for the boosting of the viscosity of residual fuel oil (RFO) which is often used by industries for their boilers. With products comingled, DCG said, it would have been very viable to use other user products to re-blend the contaminated one in small portions over a period of time not more than 2months.

The BOST MD had claimed that it would take at least 10 months to re-blend the contaminated fuel.

“The total RFO consumption in Ghana stands under 800,000 litres per month (NPA 2017 data). It is, therefore, inconceivable how one can seek to use 5million litres as a ‘thinner’ for RFO. How much at all will be required to thin it?  It is therefore, suspicious what the true purpose of the purchase by Movenpina and Zupoil,” DCG sneered.

It also dismissed claims by the BNI/NSS report that it was normal practice that BOST sold contaminated fuel to companies that are unlicensed by the NPA.

“The NPA ACT 691 is very clear on this matter. Section 11 (I) of Act 691 states that “A person shall not engage in a business or commercial activity in the downstream industry unless that person has been granted a licence for that purpose by the Board.”

“It has been argued that there are no licensed waste oil processing companies. This is untrue. Glasbrown Ltd and Batcco Investments are duly licensed with the NPA to operate as waste oil processing companies. They have been in operation for over 3years.

“Awuah-Darko and Alfred Obeng led BOST to engage in illegal transactions if the persons involved were not duly licensed by the National Petroleum Authority. It is again suspicious why BOST knowingly dealt with persons without legitimate standing or capacity. Process of Sale Needless to say, the process was not competitive, nor transparent. It is too suspicious.”

The group called on the President to immediately start an investigation into the scandal, saying a good starting point would be to first close down the operations of Zupp Oil and stage a raid of all unauthorized fuel storage facilities at Kpone and Ashiaman.

Once the Presidential probe has been completed, it said, all those culpable should be dealt with according to law.

Source: Fiifi Samuels || therepublicnewsonline.com

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