Nigeria Turns Up Heat on Illegal Blenders


Nigerias Department of Petroleum Resources arrested the operator of an illegal lubricant blending plant in Kontagora, Niger State, in northern central Nigeria.

We were on a normal filling station routine check in Kontagora, when we saw a tank in the bush, which was quite unusual and we branched to see what was happening; only for us to discover that there was a bigger lubricant blending plant operating there, Mohammed Saidu, Zonal Public Relations of the DPR, told Lube Report in his office in Abuja. The agency is one of Nigerias regulators for the oil, gas, and lubricants sector.

So we stopped him, sent the product for laboratory analysis and at the end of the day, we discovered that whatever that was happening was purely an illegal activity with heavy impact for the environment, the workers, and machines and engines within the locality, Saidu said of the May 2014 arrest.

He said the apprehended illegal blender, IMN Auto Parts Ltd., had applied for approval to construct a lubricant blending plant but did not meet DPR requirements.

He applied for approval to construct one blending plant, in a completely different name, and we granted that, with the proviso that work must commence in earnest within three months, but one year after he was granted the license, he never did anything substantial. So his license was withdrawn because he could not comply with our directives, Saidu said. Even the license to construct was issued in a different name and for a different location. So, he could not have claimed that he had approval to construct.

The case is now before a federal high court in Minna, Niger state.

Saidu emphasized the importance of educating Nigerians about engine oil. We encourage Nigerians to look out for lubricants that are licensed because for one to go through the process of licensing, all international best practices must be observed, he said. It has to be certified, and we must know the source of the raw materials and additives. We often visit blending plants to analyze them to ensure their products meet certification – otherwise, we seal such plants.

Taiye Williams, Managing Director of Lubcon International, while describing the blending plant bust as a step in the right direction, urged the DPR to sustain the tempo of action on illegal blenders in the country.

The bust on the fake blending plant has elicited concerted efforts by the Lubricants Producers Association of Nigeria (Lupan) and Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (Moman) to fight adulteration of lubes.

If Lupan and Moman can come together as we have agreed, we can stem the rising menace of [lubricants] adulteration in the country, Emeka Obidike, executive secretary of Lupan told Lube Report. Thomas Olawore, executive secretary of Moman, agreed that we are working together to counter the adulteration of petroleum products in Nigeria.

Obidike attributed the growing problem to some licensed lube blenders, who sell base oils to outsiders who are not members of Lupan.

Some operators think they are making more profit by selling base oil to outsiders but they end up shortchanging themselves and losing opportunities to create jobs, and their products get adulterated, Obidike said.

Williams agreed that some operators have been careless with base oils, saying thats the reason it gets into the hands of illegal blenders.

On the other hand, he said operators are supposed to submit reports to the DPR detailing the source of base oils, usage, and who they sell it to, so that it could be traced. This will minimize the chance of raw materials getting into the wrong hands, he noted.

However, this practice is not being fulfilled by operators, Williams said, adding that we are gradually getting there because that is what we are pushing for, so that all this adulteration can be nipped in the bud.

For his part, Saidu said the DPR does monitor base oils imported by blenders but sometimes the base oils end up somewhere else, which the DPR can rarely explain. That is the reason the DPR embarks on continuous spot checks, he said.

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