Quality Assurance Division
The Quality Assurance Division is responsible for the quality of refined petroleum products along the value chain.
What is the Quality Assurance Division of the NPA?
The Quality Assurance Division was established in 2018 by expanding the existing Petroleum Product Marking Scheme (PPMS) which was established in 2012 by Legislative Instrument (L.I.) 2187 to monitor the marker concentration of marked petroleum products at the retail outlets. The expansion is to effectively monitor the quality of petroleum products along the supply and distribution chain.
The Quality Assurance Division is therefore made up of the Quality Control and PPMS Units.
The Quality Assurance Division has put in place measures to ensure that all petroleum products supplied in the country meet the National Standards/Specifications on quality.
Fuels that have been contaminated generally affect the environment negatively including costly damage to combustion systems. Many mechanical breakdowns such as engine failure and fuel starvation can be attributed to poor quality of petroleum products. In this regard, an effective fuel quality management system in place will ensure that the quality of petroleum products are constantly monitored by fuel quality tests and analysis to mitigate all potential effects of poor quality fuels and assure customers of improved quality of fuel and value for money.
The Quality Control Unit
The Unit is responsible for the following;
- Assessment of the quality of petroleum products supplied in Ghana in conformity to National Standards/specifications;
- Investigate on regular basis the quality systems of petroleum service providers to ensure conformity with best practice and protocols;
- Initiate and conduct investigations into standards of quality of petroleum products offered to consumers; and
- Review Standards/Specification of petroleum quality and advice on best practices in conformity to the automobile needs and environmental impact.
Prior to the delivery of any petroleum product to any depot in the country, laboratory analysis is conducted on the product and the result reviewed in comparison to our National Standards for conformity before approval to berth and discharge is given to the respective importer (BDC/OTC) or their agents.
The unit also conducts quality verification exercise of petroleum products in the market tanks of depots across the country on quarterly basis.
The Quality Control Unit is currently liaising with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and relevant stakeholders to review and update all petroleum products standards and procedures such as:
- Inspecting and auditing laboratories and their respective testing methods to ensure conformity to international standards and practices.
- Standardizing petroleumadditives on the local market.
The PPMS Unit
The PPMS Unit provides a foundation for an effective quality monitoring system by introducing a marker in trace quantities into petroleum products at all operational depots in the country prior to distribution to the market. The marker is a unique identifier which aids in distinguishing the various types of petroleum products and exposes the addition, if any, of a foreign product. This is achieved by testing samples of petroleum products at all retail outlets & bulk consumers across the country with proprietary analytical devices which detect the presence or otherwise of the marker.
The Legislative Instrument 2187, provides legal backing for the establishment, functions and operations of the PPMS.
The PPMS entered a new phase of the programme on April 1, 2019. Nationwide Technologies Limited (NTL) has been contracted to undertake the fuel marking activities in Ghana. NTL has a sub-contractor agreement with Authentix Inc.
The PPMS conducts monthly fuel sampling and testing exercises of at least 75% of retail outlets nationwide. Field monitoring is conducted with the proprietary LSX3000 hand held detection equipment to monitor the concentration of marker in the marked petroleum products.
The LSX3000 equipment stores all data, in an encrypted form, and is tailored to restrict access. In the field, officers of the Authority and key stakeholders like dealers, station managers and station supervisors see: Pass/Fail. However, the percentage marker concentration is stored internally in the field device and the data transmitted in real time to a cloud system. Due to the configuration of the machine, individuals with the required credentials have access to the data for confirmatory results, intelligence, data mining and maintenance of programme integrity.
PPMS currently operates two (2) sector laboratories (Northern and Southern) across the country.
Collaborations with Government Agencies
The Quality Assurance Division, in collaboration with the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and Ghana Police Service, conducts random operations to clamp down on the illegal and industrial malpractices in the sale and distribution of petroleum products. Dealers, transporters and individuals found to be distributing adulterated products are made to face the full rigors of the law.
Importers (BDC/OTC), transporters and retailers (OMCs) and the other stakeholders found guilty of illegal and industrial malpractices in the distribution and sale of petroleum products are subjected to a fine, imprisonment and/or suspension of license.
Achievement of the PPMS
- Sustained successful marking and field monitoring of marked petroleum products
- Reduction in the retail outlet failure rate, which is indicative of the decrease in the malpractices in the distribution and sale of petroleum products.
Figure 3: PPMS Field monitoring results capturing retail outlet failure rate from 2013 to 2019.
- Improvement in stakeholder awareness in furtherance of the Authority’s medium term strategy.
- Significant reduction in the fuel tax revenue loss and subsidy abuse.
- Consumers of petroleum products are assured of improved quality of products at the retail outlets.