Some 50,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil out of a shipment of 120,000 gallons that was shipped to the Skeldon Generation plant have been found to be contaminated.
This newspaper has learnt the vessel used to ship fuel from Georgetown to Skeldon was contracted for the first time by the Guyana Power and Light Company.
The fuel was shipped aboard the vessel in eight tanks and when the samples were taken before offloading, four tanks were found to be contaminated.
The contaminated fuel has since been returned to Georgetown.
The scandal comes in wake of an oil spill at the Kingston generation plant and two shipments of contaminated fuel to Anna Regina in Essequibo. The latter damaged several key components of equipment there.
The President had ordered an investigation into that incident and it was pointed out that the Board Directors will have to review the report before any pronouncements.
According to a source close to the Board, the decision was taken by the Board to refrain from commenting until a complete analysis of the extensive report has been completed.
Given that the analysis has not been completed, no entity has yet been found at fault to be penalised, neither has the penalty to be levied been determined.
The investigation into the contaminated fuel was ordered by President Bharrat Jagdeo on January 26 last.
The President made the disclosure during a press briefing at the Office of the President while responding to the fact that the contaminated fuel was only discovered after it had already damaged the equipment.
A motion put forward in the National Assembly calling for an investigation into the affairs at the power company was defeated by the Government benches in mid-2008.
In the wake of the report on the contaminated fuel the power company, in a release to the media, had stated that a total of 4,000 barrels of heavy fuel oil was dispatched in two approximately equal shipments to the location, one on January 9 and the other one on January 14 last year.
The company noted that both shipments arrived at the plant contaminated with water and some solid foreign matter.
Samples were dispatched to Trinidad for testing to ascertain the extent and type of contamination, given that the testing facilities available locally are limited in their capability.
The power company stated that it could not determine sodium content in the water if indeed the contaminant was seawater.
The company acknowledged that from January 10 to January 14, last, extensive power outages were experienced by all consumers on the Essequibo Coast. These were attributed to the contaminated fuel.
It was also explained that both engines had suffered some damage, and that repairs were costly.
Chairman of the Board of Directors at GPL, Winston Brassington, had told this newspaper that the company would not comment on who would be made to pay for any losses prior to a review of the facts as they relate to the cause of the damage, and the cost of the contaminated fuel.
A senior official at the company, who requested anonymity, also told this newspaper that Brassington was correct in his assessment, given that there are ways and means of salvaging the fuel, in that the water could be removed.
Hence, a determination of the exact loss could be made only after an accurate analysis of how much water is present in the fuel, and what could be done to extract as much as possible.
BK International, the company that transported the fuel for GPL, had swiftly stated that it was too early to lay the blame on anyone for the delivery of some $40M worth of contaminated fuel to the Essequibo Coast.
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