Pak oil firms threaten legal action against Honda

ANI | Updated: Nov 09, 2017 11:03 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Nov.9 (ANI): Pakistan-based oil firms have reportedly warned Honda Pakistan that it faces the risk of legal action if it does not withdraw a complaint about the alleged sale of low quality fuel in the market.

The Dawn quoted a statement of the Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC), a representative body of around a dozen oil marketing companies (OMCs) and refineries, as saying this on Wednesday.

However, one oil firm - Hascol Petroleum - has reportedly supported Honda Pakistan's allegation of the existence of high manganese content in petrol and asked the government to upgrade fuel quality in the market and subject fuels to stringent standard checks.

In a complaint to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), Honda Atlas Cars Pakistan reported high manganese content in recently upgraded 92RON (Research Octane Number), causing three major issues, namely catalyst blocking or chocking of the catalytic converter, engine knock due to low octane quality fuels and adverse human health effects of manganese and specifically blamed three leading OMCs - PSO, Total and Shell.

The complaint said the car manufacturer had to suspend its latest variant 1.5L Turbo VTEC car due to the substandard fuel quality.

Contrary to the impression created by Hascol, OCAC clarified that fuel being sold in the country is strictly in accordance with the approved specifications issued by the Ministry of Energy, Petroleum Division.

"All OMCs, including Hascol, import and buy petroleum products from local refineries in accordance to the official country specifications. Therefore, petroleum products being sold by all OMCs are on exactly the same specifications across Pakistan," it said in its statement.

The OCAC said the most likely cause of any observed catalyst blocking was a faulty engine management system or high sulphur fuels.

Sulphur in fuel is damaging to catalytic convertors; it will poison catalyst surfaces, reducing the efficiency of the catalyst and sulphur compounds (sulphates) can block catalyst substrates.

It said Pakistan was currently at the beginning of its clean fuel journey and sulphur levels remained higher than those required for Euro-IV vehicles, such as Honda Civic 1.5L VTEC Turbo referenced in the complaint. The quality of the fuel in regard to preventing engine knock is measured by the octane value or RON of the fuel.

The OCAC alleged that Honda Civic 1.5L VTEC Turbo model was currently incompatible with market fuels available in Pakistan because it was a Euro-IV vehicle in a market where sulphur levels were currently unsuitable for this emission standard.

Secondly, the engine management system of this vehicle was improperly calibrated for the Pakistan market and manganese was extremely unlikely to be the cause of failure of this vehicle. In contrast, Euro-II vehicles present in the market also have catalytic convertors and were not reporting such issues. Reports that a Honda "team from Japan was replacing the software used in the 1.5L VTEC strongly suggests that the problem is not fuel-related but because of an incompatible vehicle emission management system", it added.

An OCAC official said there is no limit on manganese content in the government's standards for petrol. (ANI with inputs)