GUNVOR, Zambia’s crude oil suppliers, have admitted having supplied the nation with oil containing high levels of organic chlorides which was not specified by government,s says Energy Permanent secretary Emelda Chola .
And Gunvor Corporate Affairs Director Seth Thomas Pietras said the firm was committed to the long-term relationship which it had with Zambia and would continue working with the Zambian Government to ensure a prompt resolution was arrived at.
In June this year, Indeni Refinery experienced high levels of acidity in the crude feedstock.
The situation caused Indeni Refinery in Ndola to shut down for seven days as the condition led to corrosion of equipments and pipes.
Brigadier General Chola said Gunvor accepted the finding of the investigations which revealed that the crude oil supplied had high levels of organic chlorides after holding a meeting in Zambia.
In statement issued to Daily Nation, Gen Chola said Gunvor attributed the results to accidental contamination either at the loading port or in transit.
And Mr Pietras said the firm was committed to the long-term relationship which it has with Zambia and would continue working with the Zambian Government to ensure a prompt resolution was arrived at.
“We have worked quickly with the government to identify the problem and a solution. The government in its statement describes it as accidental. Regardless of the cause, we are committed as a partner to ensuring the refinery is back to normalized operations,” Mr Pietras said in response to a press query.
And Gen Chola said Gunvor in South Africa had agreed to support Indeni Refinery with regards to cleaning up the contaminated material and repair the equipment.
She said Gunvor would also be sending a team of experts to work with the refinery to assess the remedial action required.
Gen Chola said Government and Gunvor had further agreed to test all the crude feedstock consignments before loading the cargo on the ship and before offloading the cargo in Dar-es-Salaam.
“This is to prevent a similar occurrence from happening ever again. In addition, Government has resolved that in the event that cargo supplied by Gunvor SA is found to be contaminated, it shall not be offloaded by the supplier and a replacement shall be supplied,” she said.
Gen Chola assured the nation that the chemicals in the crude were washed out during the refining process and did not remain in the refined products.
She said before products were sold to the market the refinery issues quality certificates that indicated that the products such as petrol, diesel and kerosene meet the specifications as set by the Zambian Bureau of Standards.