Acetone-mixed Gasoline Importers Pledge to Withdraw Problematic Petrol

Petrolimex Saigon and the Military Petroleum Company in Ho Chi Minh City said they are seeking to withdraw imported troublesome acetone-mixed gasoline after the city’s Department of Science and Technology publicized Wednesday that the two companies have imported the problematic petrol.

Mr. Pham Minh Tan, director of the department, told a Wednesday press conference that he could not announce the names of the importers on Tuesday because he did not receive the official second test’s results until Wednesday morning.

He added the second test’s results confirmed the findings of the previous one, which showed the amount of acetone in the troublesome petrol was much higher than allowed.

A motorbike repairer in Ho Chi Minh City replaces a carburetor's rubber fuel valve damaged by acetone-mixed gasoline.

On August 25, inspectors took three samples of gasoline from filling stations in the city to check. Then, the department’s analysis center found out three different contents of acetone: 0.94%, 1.9% and 7.06%.

As the gasoline has damaged rubber fuel valves of the carburetors of many motorbikes and cars in the last few weeks, the center sank two rubber fuel valves (one made by Honda and the other with unknown origin) into the sample with 7.06% acetone to test. The Honda-made valve did not swell but the other valve did.

Representatives of Petrolimex Saigon and the Military Petroleum Company said when importing such problematic petrol, they did not know the gasoline contained acetone.

Petrolimex Saigon deputy director Dang Duy Quan said his company imported almost 6,000 tons of A95 gasoline mixed with acetone from Singapore on August 16, and the lot met the Vietnamese standards.

Phan Duy Phuc, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Branch of the Military Petroleum Company, said his company imported more than 4,000 tons of A92 gasoline with acetone from the Republic of Korea on August 7.

Accordingly, the total import was about 10,000 tons.

Petrolimex Saigon’s Quan said his company will withdraw all troublesome petrol from filling stations by September 1. Then, experts will be engaged to separate acetone, or to diminish the substance’s adverse impacts on rubber parts of the engine.

Also Mr. Phuc from the Military Petroleum Company said his company will withdraw all troublesome gasoline from filling stations by this weekend, and is responsible for damage caused by this petrol to rubber parts of the engine.

Petrolimex Saigon’s hotline for problems caused by acetone-mixed petrol is (08) 8292 081. People can also bring their motorbikes or cars with damaged rubber parts to the company office at 15 Le Duan Blvd. District 1, Ho Chi Minh City to complain. As for the Military Petroleum Company, two hotlines are (08) 989 5650 and 989 4374.

Both Petrolimex and the Military Petroleum Company have lodged complaints to their suppliers in Korea and Singapore, asking for proper solutions. 

Normally, a little acetone is added to petrol to make high octane fuel, but in this case, a lot of acetone was added for reasons unknown.

Mr. Pham Ngoc Tran (Photo: Tuoi Tre)

Also on August 30, the Directorate for Standards and Quality of Viet Nam ordered the two companies to stop supplying acetone-mixed gasoline.

Mr. Pham Ngoc Tran, deputy chief of the agency, told Tuoi Tre newspaper that after problematic gasoline are withdrawn, officials will decide whether the petrol will be retuned to the overseas suppliers.

He added the current Vietnamese standards do not specify the presence of acetone in gasoline, so the standards need to be improved.

He said Vietnamese companies import petrol only under contracted standards; even inspecting agencies did not know the quality, and so how businesses could, he told Tuoi Tre.

Compiled by Tuong Thuy

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