Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nigeria: Kerosene as Aviation Fuel, Threatens Air Safety

Aeronautical engineers and pilots have warned that it is very dangerous to use Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), popularly known as Kerosene, to fuel aircraft, as a substitute for Jet A1, which is the standard aviation fuel. Although the two are closely related, Jet A1 is well refined petroleum product for aviation use. The experts cautioned that an aircraft engine could be adversely affected when a low grade fuel is used.

According to them, continued use of such low grade fuel could cause the engine to shut down while on flight or gather debris that would eventually make it malfunction. "This is very dangerous for commercial aircraft, which air lift passengers from one destination to another." The engineers and pilots are reacting to the allegation that an oil marketer has been selling kerosene as aviation fuel to airlines.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which on Wednesday summoned oil marketers to a meeting that lasted for over five hours, learnt that a particular oil marketing company has breached the standard of Jet A1 that should be supplied to airlines.

NCAA alleged that the particular oil marketer had been selling adulterated kerosene to Nigerian and other carriers.

According to Nigerian Aviation News, serious allegation was leveled against one of the oil marketers (name withheld) by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Association of Petroleum Products Marketers, alleging that it had been selling the adulterated kerosene as Jet A1 to unsuspecting airlines.

The two associations noted that checks with Lloyd of London, which had the list of oil importers, indicated that the marketer had never bought or imported aviation fuel in the past one year. According to them, what it had been importing was the domestic kerosene at N40.90K per litre, which it in turn sold to airlines as aviation fuel at N152 per litre.

Industry analyst and former Commandant of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Group Captain John Ojikutu, said that selling DPK as aviation fuel was dangerous because it could malfunction the engine of an aircraft and expose passengers to danger.

Ojikutu wondered why the deception had not been discovered since the quality of Jet A1 was monitored before it was sold to the airlines. He also queried why the marketers had stopped supplying fuel from Mosimi and Ejigbo depots, but conveyed the product by road.

He advised that any marketer caught in the nefarious should be severely sanctioned.

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