The BOST contaminated fuel saga is a massive test for the country quest to fighting corruption.
The attitude of accountability and responsibility is gradually fading out of state officials paid to protect the public purse.
Off-spec (slop, sludge and contaminated fuel) have been distorted by BOST and many commentators either ignorantly or deliberately to cover facts for accurate analysis.
Sludge refers to petroleum sediments gathered in tanks over a period of time.
Slop refers to mixture of different products (fuel, water etc) which interface in the normal cause of operating depot.
According to Mr. Sampson Addae who is into (Research, Pricing and Monitoring) at CHAMBER OF PETROLEUM CONSUMERS GHANA (COPEC-GH) he said every modern depot has a slop tank for engineering make up. At BOST slop is created by dislodged of a type of product (eg Diesel) from the export pump station (EPS) by pumping of different type of product (Petrol) from the All buoy Berth (ABB) central pipeline.
He said, the size of the slop tank at BOST Accra Plans Depot (APD) is 75,000 litres and the maximum dislodged from the EPS during any import is about 3,000 litres.
Typically slop is not sold, it is blended in collaboration with NPA to restore quality and sold as normal product, he added
In contaminated product, improper products or chemical are introduced into good product in a way that distort quality of the product.
Contaminated product are not sold but corrected through blending.
Blending is a mixture of different quality product to achieve a desired specification so BOST issue in which petrol was pumped into diesel was not slop but contaminated product. It is wrong and improper for contaminated product to be sold, he stated
Off-spec products are therefore treated differently, disposed differently and used differently.
Prior to the advent of Awuah Darko era, selling slop was not a norm because in 2016 about 59 cargoes product changeover were recorded at ABB.
Litres dislodged in the EPS for every cargo changeover, total slop realisable at BOST was 177,000 litres therefore report of 12.4 million litres of slop sold in 2016 is inaccurate.
He said according to their findings BOST officials indicated that, the contamination was as a result of the displacement of petrol in ABB pipeline into a diesel shore tank at BOST this is amazing and happening first time ever.
To discharge any cargo through ABB pipeline, there is a pre-berthing meetings comprising of BOST representatives, operators of ABB facility and owners of the product to be discharged.
KMS (operators of the ABB facility) liaise with managers of BOST APD facility (TSL) before discharge is done, BOST depot managers (TSL) are paid about USD 300,000 monthly for their operations therefore Contamination of fuel at BOST was negligence of duty by either KMS advising BOST/TSL wrongly on type of product being displaced in the pipeline or BOST/TSL wrongly opened petrol tank valve instead of diesel valved opened. KMS or TSL must be questioned and sanctioned.
Furthermore It is scandalous why BOST will want to bear the liabilities of negligence exhibited by either KMS or TSL.
We have conferred with many past and present officials of BOST, TOR and NPA, never has contaminated product been sold before. Blending the contaminated product involves 95 parts of the high quality product to 5 parts of contaminated product.
This means BOST needed about 95 million litres to blend to get normal spec. The chamber is amazed why BOST refused to take 95 million litres out of 109.25 million litres at BOST storage depot. It would have taken BOST two months to blend the product.
It has been established that Glasbrown company ltd and Batcco investment are licensed by NPA to operate as waste management operators contrary to falsehood peddled by BOST that no company has been licensed by NPA to operate. These companies have been in existence for 3 years.
Contamination of diesel by petrol is moderated by density of the composite product as well as initial Boiling point (IBP). Changes in density is as a result of blending. To increase density you mix existing product with higher density products and to reduce density you mix existing product with lower density. The relationship is linear. In the case of IBP, it is not linear but unique.
To ascertain whether the quality of product found in Zupoil were the same product lifted from BOST tank, NPA commissioned a test on the product at Zupoil and BOST. Three samples were taken from three different tanks at Zupoil and one sample from BOST.
They were tested at TOR and Intertek laboratory. The results are as follows
Test. Density. IBP
BOST 806.9. 52
Zup tank 1 817.4. 50
Zup tank 2. 829.5. 52
Zup tank 3. 823.2. 56
Note that standard density is 820kg/m3 to 850kg/m3.
The result indicate that the original contaminated product lifted from BOST at density 806.9 has been blended by Zupoil with heavier diesel in tank 1, 2 and 3. Also the average density is 823.37kg/m3. This means that Zupoil used heavier allowable diesel of 850kg/m3 density to blend the product. In doing so Zupoil used 189,165 litres to blend the product. NPA observed a total volume of 471,000 litres in Zupoil facility and not the minimum expected litres of 751,329.
Inferring from this, about 200,000 litres of the product have been released to the market.
Odehyeaba Kwame Asare