Kenya’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), a government watchdog for the country’s fuel industry, is undertaking the demolition of illegal petroleum facilities across parts of the East African nation.
The ERC is looking to address the state of Kenya’s petroleum sector in relation to fuel adulteration, a process that mainly involves adding kerosene or diesel to petrol by rogue dealers looking to make an easy profit.
Among other initiatives that the Commission says will curb the practice, is the demolition of rogue facilities found to be selling adulterated fuel. The ERC has also established a system to snuff out contaminated fuel.
“To deter motor fuels adulteration, ERC has put in place fuel marking program that ensures all kerosene meant for local consumption is marked in bulk loading depots with covert chemical markers,” theCommission said this week.
“The marker does not change the properties of the fuel and is harmless to humans and the environment. As a Commission, we test samples of petroleum products available in retail outlets across the country for presence of the Kerosene marker,” ERC officials explained.
“Products that test positive for adulteration compels us to take action against the concerned outlets that involve heavy penalties, revocation of licenses, naming and shaming of the said outlets…among other measures,” they continued.
The ERC added that these measures have helped reduce the level of adulteration from 25% to 3%.
“We also call upon the public to join us in this fight by reporting any cases of adulteration of fuel they come across,” the regulator added.
As part of its mandate in petroleum motor fuels quality management, consumer protection and prevention of tax evasion, the ERC takes part in the marking and monitoring of petroleum fuels to deter adulteration and dumping of export bound petroleum products into the local market.
Over the years, the program has been successful with compliance level of about 97%.
More recently, the ERC, in collaboration with Kenya’s National Police Service undertook, operations in Uasin Gishu and Bungoma Counties where seven unlicensed petroleum storage sites were demolished and operators charged this July.
Motor fuels adulteration is detrimental to the economy with conservative estimates putting the total loss to the country at Ksh9.2 billion (over $91 million) per annum. This is in addition to high vehicle maintenance costs that result after consumption of adulterated fuels.