The Auditor General’s Department (AGD) will be managing the Forensic Audit process into oil losses at Petrojam Limited, including the tender process for the Forensic Auditor.
As of May 1, 2019, all comments and feedback received on the draft Terms of Reference (TOR) developed for the forensic audit will be forwarded to the AGD for action.
Permanent Secretary, Carol Palmer has stated that the Ministry is committed to full transparency and integrity of the process and adds that the public’s feedback and comments into the draft TOR will strengthen the auditing process.
Members of the public have been invited to provide feedback on the TOR published in the Gleaner and Jamaica Observer newspapers on Wednesday, March 13. The document is also accessible on the Ministry’s website at www.mset.gov.jm and comments may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com by April 30, 2019.
UNDERSTANDING OIL LOSSES
In an effort to increase transparency and awareness, the Ministry of Science, Energy & Technology (“MSET”) offers the following narrative which provides insight into the issue of oil losses that was recently identified at Petrojam Limited by the Auditor General of Jamaica.
OIL LOSSES DEFINED
Oil losses, in the context of a petroleum refinery, represents the volume of oil reported as being lost during the manufacture of finished oil products (e.g. LPG and Gasoline) from crude oil. Oil losses are a feature of all refineries worldwide. Oil losses are quantified simply as the difference between crude oil input and finished products output, expressed as a percentage of the crude oil input.
(Crude Oil (input)-Finished products (output)) / (Crude Oil (input)) × 100
Refinery oil losses are classified as either “accountable” or “unaccountable”. “Accountable losses” are those which can be readily identified and quantified. These include losses due to evaporation, flaring, seepage, leaks, chemical losses, solid waste, and effluent. By definition, what is left when everything has been accounted for is called ‘unaccountable losses’. These include meter uncertainty (difference in meter reading between vendor and the refinery), theft, leaks, emissions, calculation errors and loss during transportation of barrels from one location to another.
TYPICAL OIL LOSS LEVELS
Internationally accessible data shows that the average recorded refinery oil losses typically ranges from 0.6 % – 0.7 %. High performing refineries average as low as 0.1 % – 0.2 % oil loss, while low performing refineries record average oil losses as high as 1.2 % – 1.4 %. As distinct from the average oil losses across refineries, the industry norm range for oil losses is 0.4% – 0.9% of total throughput of oil.
OIL LOSSES AT PETROJAM – THE AUDITOR GENERAL’S FINDINGS
In the document titled, “A Review of Aspects of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica and a Comprehensive Audit of Petrojam Limited”, the Auditor General of Jamaica made the following finding in respect of oil losses at Petrojam Limited:
“Over the last five years, Petrojam recorded total estimated oil losses of two million barrels valuing approximately $18 billion. Petrojam reported that it used 1.5 million bbl valuing approximately $12.8 billion, during normal refinery production but could not account for 600,694 bbl value $5.2 billion. The reported unaccountable losses increased over the period by 60 per cent to 184,951 bbl in 2017-18 from 115,793 bbl in 2013-14.” (where bbl means barrels)
THE AUDITOR GENERAL’S FINDINGS ANALYSED
Throughout the five year period 2013 – 2018, a total of 80,007,746 barrels of oil (crude and finished products) were processed by the Petrojam refinery. During the period, the Auditor General identified that of the 80,007,746 barrels processed, 600,694 bbl barrels were lost. This represents 0.75% of the total throughput of 80,007,746 barrels.