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Fraud in petrol quality brings super-profits to distributors   2011-01-12 - Viet Nam Net

The “technology of making up low quality petrol” has been applied in Vietnam for a long time, while low quality products still have been available on the market. However, state management agencies still have “ignored” the problem.

Super profits for low quality petrol sellers

With the sale of 2000-3000 liters of petrol per day, a filling station can earned up to hundreds of millions of dong a month by selling low quality petrol.

A representative of Saigon Petro said that for a long time, distributors have been mixing different products in order to earn bigger profits. In 2005, when kerosene got the subsidization from the government, which made it even cheaper than diesel by nearly 1000 dong per liter, suppliers mixed kerosene with petrol to sell as petrol.

Nowadays, they mix A83 and A92 petrol into A95 which aims to increase the mass and reduce the octane numeric value. The fraud was discovered in 2007-2008, which once stirred up the public. At that time, the Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed to stop making A83 petrol in order to prevent fraudulence. However, the plan was not supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

However, he thinks that it would be more profitable to mix methanol into petrol. The solvent is very cheap, at just 10,000 dong per liter, which is just equal to 50 percent of the petrol price. Besides, suppliers could mix acetone into petrol, though acetone is more expensive than methanol.

Methanol has been available at any painting shops, while every one can purchase methanol, while no one would ask him what he buys methanol for. It is too easy to mix methanol into petrol, while no one can know the actual quality of the petrol they buy.

The executive of Saigon Petrol said that if a filling station sells 2000-3000 liters of A83 petrol per day as A92 petrol, it would get 500 dong per liter, or 10-15 million dong per day, and 300-400 million dong a month. Meanwhile, if it mixes methanol into petrol, the profit would be even bigger.

Who to blame?

All petrol importers have affirmed that their products can meet the standards, and if any frauds can be discovered, it should be blamed on the retailers.

However, according to the Market Control Agency, in 2006, the Military Petroleum Corporation was found as importing the petrol with acetone, which then raised a strong opposition from the public.

At that time, the petrol finished products’ prices were very expensive. However, the Ministry of Science and Technology still did not promulgate the standards on the maximum acetone content in petrol.

Nowadays, even when a filling station has been found as selling under-standard petrol, it is very difficult to track down the “culprit” to blame on. Vuong Dinh Dung, General Director of the Military Petroleum Corporation has denied his responsibility for its sale agent, a filling station on Ho Tung Mau Street in Hanoi, selling petrol with methanol.

Dung said that the corporation has been following a very strict procedure in importing petrol, therefore, frauds must not be made. He also said that the corporation not only provides petrol to one filling station on Ho Tung Mau, but to many other sales agents nationwide.

Dung said that many parties get involved in the process of importing and distributing products, therefore, it is necessary to examine all the parties to find out who has made frauds, from the supervisors, drivers, storekeepers to sellers of the filling station.

Meanwhile, Vo Van Quyen, Deputy Director of the Market Control Agency, said that it is still necessary to take a general investigation to clarify the problem. If other sales agents of the Military Petroleum Corporation do not have similar problems, then the Mai Dich filling station will have to take responsibility for this. Meanwhile, if the same problems occur with other sale agents, it would be necessary to reconsider the petrol provided by the corporation.

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