During the year 2010, the Fuel Marking Programme of the Guyana Energy Agency sampled and tested fuel in all areas of Guyana.
Some twenty-four thousand three hundred and twenty-nine (24, 329) samples were analysed and some twenty-one thousand (21,000) gallons of fuel were seized in 2010.
Of the 24,329 samples analysed during 2010, significant levels of adulteration (defined as more than 50%) were detected in 2% of the samples analysed. Further, from 2006 to 2010, the percentage of sites found with significant dilution in at least one tank has progressively decreased from 34% in 2006 to 3% in 2010.
The data suggests that either fewer sites are dealing in illegal fuel or that illegal fuel is no longer stored on site. We believe that the Fuel Marking Programme is contributing to a reduction in the number of sites dealing with illegal fuel. Taking into consideration that more sites were visited, that more samples were collected and analysed, that a similar number of incidents of illegal fuel were detected, and that less fuel was seized in 2010 than in 2009, one can infer that this is a measure of the sustained effectiveness of the Fuel Marking Programme.
Consumption of mogas (gasoline) for the year 2010 increased by 5.34% when compared to 2009. The increase in mogas consumption correlates with the increase in the number of motor vehicles registered in 2010. Gasoil (diesel) consumption reported by the oil companies only (excluding the large industrial consumers exempt from excise tax) increased by 2.78% when compared with 2009. The increase in gasoil consumption correlates with the overall sustained growth of the economy and decreased availability of smuggled fuel presumably due to the success of the monitoring and enforcement activities of the Fuel Marking Programme.
Automated bulk injection marking systems have been installed at all the major fuel terminals in Guyana to improve the security of the marker concentrate and fuel marking operations. A significant quantity of marker concentrate was stolen from the GEA compound by armed robbers on September 30, 2010. This is probably a good indication that the installation of the automatic marker injection system at the terminals has drastically reduced the availability of stolen marker concentrate previously acquired through pilfering. A number of security measures have since been put in place.
The first Analyst Certificate indicating the physical properties of a particular sample of petroleum, therein proving that the particular sample was diesel, was tendered in Court. The Courts had previously ruled that before proving a particular sample of fuel was illegal, GEA must prove that the particular sample was diesel, gasoline or kerosene as the case might be. Equipment to conduct the necessary tests was sourced and is now being used to tender evidence in the Courts. The ability to conduct specification tests on a particular sample of petroleum [for adulteration or deterioration] is a boost to the Agency’s analytical capabilities, allowing for even more diverse functions. For example, the equipment enabled GEA for the first time to render assistance in determining the condition of petroleum which had been stored for a lengthy period.
In addition to the bulk injectors and increased testing capability, the Fuel Marking Programme benefitted from the bolstering of its investigative capacity and the Gazetting of an additional Analyst who can tender results in Courts of law. These factors together with the vigilance of the officers saw the institution of twenty- seven (27) new charges.
The successes of the Fuel Marking Programme are inextricably linked to the support of the Task Force on Fuel Smuggling and Contraband chaired by the Honourable Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Clement Rohee. The Task Force has been instrumental in preparing Standard Operating Procedures to promote coordinated and efficient inter-Agency operations between the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Revenue Authority, Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard, Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and the Guyana Oil Company (Guyoil). Cooperation under the Task Force ensured the successful detention of illegal fuel, suspects, vehicles, vessels and subsequent institution of charges.
In summary, 2010 was a successful year for the Fuel Marking Programme, which saw great strides in advancing the fight against the illegal fuel trade particularly in capacity-building with the implementation of tests to determine physical properties of petroleum samples, the transformation from manual marking of fuel to mechanized marking, increased investigative capacity and increased analytical capacity. GEA would like to express sincere gratitude to those pubic-spirited citizens who continue to report incidents of smuggling.