On the ground, the decision was taken to return the mismatched shipment to Sonatrach, which should soon begin emptying the two tanks in which the struck fuel was trapped. This comes as a preliminary measure to allow the reuse of the tanks, pending the results of the investigations that are being conducted in Lebanon and Algeria, which are supposed to show the deficiencies or fraud. Al-Akhbar learned that Sonatrach assigned two companies to investigate what happened.
As a result, the goal became to reveal the fact that the shipment of 38,000 tons of adulterated fuel oil reached Lebanon, after everyone, including Sonatrach, realized that it did not meet the specifications, and that the results reached by Bureau Veritas (Dubai Office), responsible for quality control The contract with Karadeniz (Steamboat) and Middle East Power, the operator of Jiyeh and Zouk, is valid. These results came to confirm that fuel is not usable in the factories, in violation of the results reached by the company itself (the Malta branch) upon loading from the port of Malta, which was supported by the tests conducted by the yello tech company appointed by the Ministry of Energy and the company pst appointed by «Sonatrach ” In Lebanon.
The first step that the EDL has taken is to correspond with the Banque du Liban to request the freezing of the credit for the shipment. In parallel, the Ministry of Energy contacted, reserving all administrative and financial consequences resulting from sending a non-conforming shipment, while declaring that it does not bear any costs incurred.
However, it remained stuck. Two tests were positive, and two tests were negative. To resolve the matter, «Electricity of Lebanon» asked «Sonatrach» to conduct new checks. According to the foundation’s sources, the latter has returned to commission the pst company to conduct the examination. The result was released on Monday and the Director General of Lebanese Electricity, Kamal Hayek, informed it to all concerned: The shipment does not meet the specifications.
Accordingly, the decision was taken to ensure “Sonatrach” to recover the shipment, in parallel with the start of unloading a second shipment that had arrived in Lebanon on March 30, and the results of the examination conducted by the Ministry of Energy were found to be in conformity with the specifications. Yesterday, that shipment began unloading, with the approval of the Algerian company, although the credit has not yet been opened. Also, the emptying process is currently taking place before all required tests are completed. As was shown in previous experience, the “official” test by the Ministry of Energy and “Sonatrach” is not reliable, technically the least. Even laboratory and ship management do not trust him, so they conduct their own tests, relying on another technique to obtain the sample. Instead of obtaining the sample from the charge in the sea, it resorted to the technique of drip sampling (taking drops of fuel during discharge and continuously), so that a sample can be obtained expressing the entire charge. This time, given the need to re-activate the factories, whose production decreased due to the lack of fuel, EDL requested that the MEP obtain a sample of the shipment before unloading it (it appears that it conforms to the specifications), that the Turkish company adopt the usual method. Thus, EDL wanted to gain time even if the second result was released, the shipment would have become in the tanks, instead of waiting for the test result by the two companies (the same test and the evaluation company itself).
On the margins, this crisis led to the first communication of its kind between the two companies, whose officials have not previously exchanged even the parties to the conversation. But this time, the Lebanese company shared the result with the Turkish company, and the last will inform them of the test result as soon as it is completed, in preparation for the start of production at both parties.
The Minister of Energy appoints a committee to investigate the circumstances of the milled fuel shipment
The case ended procedurally. But responsibilities have not yet been determined. There is one or more guilty in this process. The possibility of a change in the chemical composition of the product is still possible (the representative of the Algerian company previously hinted that the difference in the product specifications occurred during the stopping period at sea or during the discharge process), but it is a slight possibility, according to an oil expert. In addition, if that is true, then this means that the fuel has been added to it chemicals or chemical dirt that led to the reaction of the fuel with it, and here the question becomes: Why were these materials added? The second possibility is that the shipment was not matched when loading. This opens the door wide for a group of those involved in “Sonatrach” and the Ministry of Energy, in addition to the companies that conducted the tests.
One of the problems that the ministry must resolve, before the investigation is completed, is the problem of multiple sources of oil. The curators of the laboratories complain about this repeatedly, considering that filling a single charge from multiple sources contributes to reducing the quality of fuel, before talking about its conformity with specifications. What is required, then, is to require Sonatrach to fill out each shipment from one source. What is required after the end of the investigation is that Lebanon obtain compensation for the damages caused to it, as a result of the fact that four factories almost completely stopped working.