Sunday, March 20, 2011

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is working earnestly to give the country its first indigenous marker system by end of 2010 for checking adulteration of petrol and diesel with subsidised kerosene. The company's R&D division is in the process of formulating the correct mix of substances required for developing the marker system suited for Indian conditions. "At present a laboratory study is being carried out and the findings, so far, have been quite positive," sources confirmed. The laboratory studies are expected to be concluded by end of April, 2010, after which the corporation will take a call on moving ahead on to the next stage. The next stage will involve scaling up the quantity of the product, which will take anything between three to four months. Thereafter, the marker will be tested for commercial production. "We are hopeful that all these activities will be completed by end of this year," sources indicated.
Readers may note that since the discontinuation of the marker system of UK-basedAuthentix with effect from January 1, 2009, the petroleum ministry has adopted a three-pronged approach for developing an efficient marker system. While the search for a marker through the Global Expression of Interest (EGOI) route is expected to continue, the oil marketing companies (OMCs), spearheaded by IOC, have been advised to develop an indigenous marker on their own. Thirdly, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and other premier scientific institutions of the country have been advised to support this endeavor for developing an indigenous marker.
The government has told the OMCs to simultaneously press ahead with the tendering process through the GEOI route. As per sources, a timeframe of three to four months has been given to international vendors for modifying their bids in line with technical requirements to be enlisted in the tender. However, the tender details are expected to be put up on the respective websites of the OMCs in a few days, after which the empanelment process will begin. Thereafter, a fresh tender will be issued.
Meanwhile, IOC has already written to CSIR and other premier institutions of the country for their inputs on their indigenous endeavor. However, the company is yet to receive a positive response from them. By Neeraj Dhankher


The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) had indicated that about 38.6% of kerosene was being diverted for unauthorised usage, including adulteration, on account of the high differential and easy miscibility in petrol and diesel.
Subsequently, Authentix was awarded a contract to introduce a marker in kerosene from
October 1, 2006, onwards to the OMCs for a period of one year through its Indian agent, SGS India Ltd. The latter, in turn, was entrusted with the task of conducting test checks on behalf of the petroleum industry at all retail outlets in a time-bound manner.

The marker system was found effective in curbing adulteration of MS/HSD with SKO but the catch rate with this system was found to be only 0.3%. This was higher then the catch rate achieved by traditional method (0.05%). The success rate was still considered to be dismal and Authentix`s services were terminated from January 1, 2009. Since then, the search for a new market has been on.
Though the search is till on for a new and efficient marker, the government has advised the OMCs to evolve an indigenous marker system by taking help from premier scientific institutions of the country

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