Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) has rejected the allegations regarding the use of dangerous additives by oil companies.
OCAC clarifies that the Euro II Petrol fuel being sold in the country is strictly in accordance with the approved specifications issued by the Ministry of Energy, Petroleum Division (MOEPD), whether its produced by the refineries or imported by the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).
The Industry ensures strict adherence to the approved and notified specifications. Furthermore, these very approved specifications form the basis for all the checks on fuel quality performed by the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) and the monitoring implemented by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA).
Additives are used worldwide by the oil industry in most petroleum products in order to ensure full adherence to approved quality parameters, claims OCAC. Some of these, such as the Octane booster Lead and MTBE in the case of petrol, were banned or phased out decades ago after being termed harmful to health, and are not used in Pakistan as well.
MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl) is a manganese-based fuel additive used as a replacement to lead, as it is the only octane booster additive which enables old car engines to run with unleaded fuel. By using MMT, refineries can reduce the content of benzene, aromatics and olefins, hence lowering the amount of more harmful chemicals, states OCAC.
MMT use in Pakistan was started by the refineries over 10 years ago after extensive due diligence and after ascertaining that both the US EPA and an independent EU risk assessment have confirmed that the use of MMT as an octane improver in fuel does not cause adverse effects to human health or the environment.
We concede, however, that the Petrol specifications in Pakistan do not prescribe any limits on any additives, which they should. That is one of the areas being addressed by a Committee chaired by the Additional Secretary Petroleum Division, Ministry of Energy and comprising of Member Oil OGRA, CEO OCAC, DG Oil and DG HDIP.
The Committee finds it necessary to impose limits on Manganese, and Iron contents. It is with this objective in mind that OCAC itself sponsored and paid for detailed testing of the petrol produced by the local refineries as well as that imported by all OMCs. The results thus compiled have been shared with the Committee and deliberations are underway to define (and include in the Petrol specifications) limits on Manganese and Iron content. Any speculation as to the recommendations of the Committee will be pure speculation until a decision has been taken.
Previously, OGRA tests confirmed that oil companies were using excessive amounts of harmful chemicals, far beyond the internationally recognized standards. OCAC’s statement conflicts itself as OGRA and Honda accused oil companies of excessive use of MMT but OCAC response is only about the use of these chemicals disregarding the matter of excess harmful chemicals.