By Isaac Tersoo Agber
Airline operators in Nigeria will soon heave a sigh of relief as new technology is being launched to detect adulterated aviation fuel – Jet A1– and poor quality lubricants, thanks to Engineering Automation Technology Limited (EATECH), which happens to be the steam behind this invention.
The company went into partnership with Cygnus Instrument Limited and Stanhope-Seta Limited, both in the UK, to bring the technology into the Nigeria market, Managing Director of EATECH, Mr. Emmanuel Okon, informed journalists at an event held in Lagos yesterday to train clients and other users of the various technologies.
He said: “We had to bring in this sophisticated technologies into Nigeria because we realize that at a time like this when the cost of fuels had gone up following the full deregulation of the downstream sector, it was important consumers paid for the right quality of fuel they purchased at retail outlets,” said Okon.
“Let us take the aviation sector where all of us know that there is no parking space in the air and that no matter the quality and the integrity of the aircraft engine, any impurity in the aircraft fuel is capable of bringing it down and killing the entire crew and passengers.
“It is order to avert that type of risk, that we have decided to bring in the technology that can tell you look this fuel is bad, it is not of the right quality, it has a high level of impurity, and it can destroy the aircraft,” Okon added.
According to him, the UK companies have the technology for the testing of the integrity of aviation fuels, lubricating oils, crude and heavy fuel oils, and motor fuels to ensure that there is no compromise that can lead to human casualties. And the technologies can also mitigate and manage corrosion,” he added.
Okon said the company had also sealed a deal with the UK firms that allowed for the training of many Nigerians in the repair, service, and maintenance of these equipment.
He continued: “If you bring in the equipment and they are not well serviced, calibrated and maintained, it will even give you wrong results. So we have also worked with the original equipment manufacturers to gain the same competence as they do. We have also gotten the authorization and approval as in-country authorized service centre for these products. And what that implies is that Nigerians don’t need to send the equipment back to the manufacturer the UK for services, maintenance, repairs and revalidation and calibration.
“Any of the upstream or downstream oil firm, or the airlines can call us and we validate or maintain any of the equipment whenever they get spoilt. We are also boosting human capacity by training these Nigerians. That means we are saving a lot of foreign exchange for the country and I believe you know the challenge of sourcing for forex these days in the country. The objective is to mitigate or completely eliminate compromise in terms of corrosion or the quality of fuel or lubricants used in the tank farms, depots, cars, trucks, and aircraft, in this sensitive industry,” he added.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) suspended five oil marketing companies in November, 2015 over complaints of contamination of the commodity. The authority was quick at dousing the pressure mounted by the airlines in compliance with existing safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Authority.