Kerosene is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid which is distilled in modern refineries as one of the numerous products of crude petroleum oil. Its chemical characteristics make it a versatile product in usage. It is the main fuel used for cooking and lighting especially by the majority of the poor citizens as an alternative to electricity and gas.
Incessant kerosene in the country has led to kerosene adulteration which has become prevalent in Nigeria.
Kerosene adulteration could be deliberate or inadvertent but most kerosene adulteration in the country is for inordinate economic gains. Kerosene subsidy has also encouraged kerosene diversion. Kerosene adulteration had been implicated in all the kerosene explosions that were recorded in Nigeria. Each time such explosion occurred, several persons were brought to death and several hundreds of victims were incapacitated or disfigured. And, each time such explosion occurred, people have been incapacitated or disfigured. Loss of lives and property has also been recorded.
Often times, there had been controversy over the sources of adulteration with trades of blames between the NNPC, Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and the dealers.
Recently, officials the National Union of Petroleum and Gas workers (NUPENG) confirmed that some major dealers mix kerosene with other products in various proportions to obtain the product of higher monetary value and in high demand to make abnormal profits.
Furthermore, some unscrupulous kerosene dealers in the country have cultivated the habit of adulterating Kerosene in their bid to make excess profit from the sale of the product. It is also on a good report that, some transporters had also been involved in product adulteration. According to investigations by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), some marketers adulterate petroleum products in their tank farms by the addition of water or PMS otherwise known as petrol, or AGO otherwise known as diesel or gas condensate depending on the price deferential between the product and the adulterant.
It is possible that adulteration can result at the PPMC depots’ pipeline; where care was not taken to properly flush out the first product pumped before the line was used to pump a different product.
Considering the injuriousness of adulterated petroleum products to human lives, we advocate that as precautionary measure, the government should ensure adequate supply of kerosene and other Petroleum products especially during this Christmas and New Year festive period.
Again, the regulatory agencies that are responsible for the monitoring and enforcing standards should collaborate and harness synergy in the checking and enforcement of standards in the management of petroleum products.