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Petroleum Product Adulteration in Nigeria: Causes and Effects

Here in this post, we are going to discuss the issue of petroleum product adulteration in Nigeria, laying out the causes and effects.

Petroleum products came from dead fossils, and these dead fossils were deposited some millions years ago, which were decayed and were buried for years.

With the actions of temperature, and pressure as well as, micro-organisms, these dead fossils are transformed into petroleum or what they commonly called, ‘crude oil’ beneath the land and/or beneath the sea.

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Petroleum Product Adulteration in Nigeria: Causes and Effects
Petroleum Product Adulteration in Nigeria – Photo Source:

The coming of automobiles during the 19th century, has made petrol and diesel and gasoline the primary source of energy for motor vehicles.

The conventional fuels, for instance, are derived directly from crude oil. Crude oil has to undergo fractionation through continuous distillation, and then into various fractions, such as, petrol (gasoline), and kerosene (kerosene, paraffin oil), and diesel (gas oil or heavy oil), and vacuum gas oil, and naphtha, and lubricating oil as well as, residue.

After this however, these fractions are again undergo further processes via conversion, and reforming as well as, treatment processes with a view to increase the yields, and to adjust the chemical composition of the produce, and also to remove every trace of impurity. At this point, one can say that, he has obtained petroleum product as its purest state.

Having said this, the codes and the standards and the specifications is laid down for petroleum products, and every petroleum product must meet these laid down standard.

Therefore, this legally enforceable specifications is what that is expected to represent the minimum quality of the products, which must be supplied.

This is why, it is implicit that, the engine designers and manufacturers must ensure that, their vehicles’ engines run satisfactorily on this level and quality of fuel.

In Nigeria, for instance, it is the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) that notifies every requisite specification for every petroleum product, such as, gasoline, and diesel as well as, kerosene that are supplied into the country or imported into the country.

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Adulteration of Petroleum Products in This Country

The Directorate of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria (DPR) GAZETTE of 2009, in vol. 7, No 131, has referred to adulteration of petroleum products an “act of weakening and/or contaminating the products by way of adding another substance that is, of lower value to the products”.

In other words, when we talk about petroleum products adulteration, we are actually referring to a situation, where a substance of lower value is added to the petroleum products, whose value was higher with a view to weaken the products’ strength thus, increase its volume and as well, create room for extra profit margin.

This practice is however, now a common thing in this country, where you will see people using less expensive product to making up the more expensive product, in order to increase the volume of such product for the purpose of making more profits.

Causes of Petroleum Products Adulteration

There are some causes of petroleum products adulteration in Nigeria, and I am going to carefully look at a number of the in this article, and below are some of the factors that led to petroleum products adulteration in this country.

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Financial Incentives Leads To Petroleum Products Adulteration

Every business enterprise objective is to make profits, in order to keep the business going, and as well, settle the shareholders of the business.

To meet this objective on the part of the business enterprise, its clients and customers have to be satisfied, in other words, the customers must have value for their money, when buying either their goods or services.

Unfortunately, in Nigeria, business people are rather driven by greed, making more money at the expense of their clients and customers.

In the oil industry for example, because of drive to make more money, dealers or players in this industry have indulged in unholy practice of adulterating petroleum products, just for the sake of financial incentives. This is too bad, and it is unfortunate!

Differences In Prices Of Petroleum Products Leads To Adulteration

In Nigeria, prices of petroleum products differs, as a result this differences in prices has been one of the causes of petroleum products adulteration.

For example, here in this country, diesel is priced higher than other product, like kerosene, and which in turn is priced higher than petrol.

Most of the times, when there is scarcity of petroleum products, this can reverse the prices of these products, thereby, making people to adulterate petrol with kerosene and/or diesel with kerosene in some cases.

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Effects Of Petroleum Products Adulteration:

Facts abound in Nigeria, where adulteration of petroleum products has become a lucrative business in Nigeria, and has led to economic losses, as well as, increased emissions in vehicles.

In fact, this practice has also led to the deterioration of vehicles performance and the performance of some parts of the car engines that used these adulterated products. However, below are some of these effects of petroleum products adulteration outlined:

1. Engine Malfunctioning

Firstly, it leads to engine malfunctioning, components failure, and other safety problems among others. In the case of high performance engines, this problem in essence, actually gets further magnified.

2. Increases Emissions of Hydrocarbons, Etc. Hence, Pollutes The Air

Secondly, as a result of petroleum products adulteration, there is increased in the emissions of substances, such hydrocarbons (HC), and carbon monoxide (Co), and oxides of nitrogen (Nox), and particulate matter (PM), and has also led to the increased emissions of toxic substances to the atmosphere, which are poisonous to human health.

3. Harmful to Human Health

Thirdly, adulteration of petroleum products, in essence, do caused health problems, as a result of increased tailpipe emissions of these substances, which are harmful to health.

More so, in the course of diversion of diesel to kerosene sector for adulteration, this has led to carcinogenic pollutants.

This of course, has led to the use of biomass as domestic fuel, and in turn led to health challenges of different kinds as a result of indoor air pollution.

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This is why, it is implicit that, the engine designers and manufacturers must ensure that, their vehicles’ engines run satisfactorily on this level and quality fuel.

In Nigeria, for instance, it is the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) that notifies every requisite specification for every petroleum product, such as, gasoline, and diesel as well as, kerosene that are supplied into the country or imported into the country.


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Joseph Athanasius

Joseph Athanasius is a Content Developer at InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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