Business News of Monday, 4 February 2013

Source: B&FT

NPA to benchmark fuel quality

Private and commercial automobile drivers will from March be assured of high quality fuel from their favourite petroleum retail outlet as the result of a move by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to check the quality of petroleum products.

The new measure, known as the Petroleum Product Marking Scheme, involves the introduction of a marker -- bio-chemical dye -- into petroleum products at all loading depots, and continuous monitoring of the concentration of the marker to ensure the level remains unchanged.

The Authority says it plans to undertake the exercise by the end of the first quarter. “It is a scheme that the Authority is introducing to enable us monitor the quality of petroleum products that are offered for sale in the country. At all the loading depots, we will introduce a marker into the petroleum product,” Mrs. Esther Anku, Chief Inspector/Director, Inspection, Monitoring and Licencing Department of the NPA, told the B&FT on the sidelines of the launch of a new Total Petroleum Ghana Limited (TPGL) Customer Service Centre.

“This marker is like a fingerprint, and what happens is if our monitoring team goes round they are supposed to monitor the product to ensure that the level of the marker in the petroleum product meets the required concentration. Any change of the concentration of the marker in the product signifies that the quality of the product has been compromised in some way,” she said.

However, full enforcement of the new measure is not expected until six months after commencement of the project.

“We will wait for all the markers to be available in all the petroleum product retail outlets. We cannot start the enforcement immediately because it will take some time for the marker to be applied in all the petroleum products that we have at the various retail outlets,” Mrs. Anku said.

“We expect to begin the monitoring six months after the marking. We will then start taking samples from the retail outlets and begin monitoring the concentration-level of the marker.”

Total’s Customer Service Centre provides a one-stop point to handle all customer-related issues in order to provide effective, quality and satisfactory service to customers.

Mr. Guilluame Larroque, Managing Director of TPGL, said inauguration of the company’s new ultra-modern one-stop Customer Service Centre is to enable Total serve its customers better.

“It is a combination of two main centres: the call centre and walk-in centre, which are equipped with modern technology and specially trained staff to attend to customers’ needs. Customers can now reach the new customer service centre for enquiries, product ordering, request processing and complaints,” he said.

“We recognise the need to meet the ever-changing needs and expectations of our customers in a safe manner, and provide them with a positive experience in the midst of a very dynamic and very competitive industry.”

Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Duah , Chief executive Officer of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies, said: “this initiative by Total Ghana is the first of its kind in our industry, especially when this year has been earmarked for higher standards.

“It is our belief that this is part of the larger initiative that TPGL is undertaking to ensure continuous improvement in Ghana’s downstream petroleum sector,” he added.