Marker for detecting adulteration of fuels: What is an ideal marker?
March 15: Even though the Authentix marker system was discontinued in September, 2008, the oil industry is still to zero in on a new marker which can accurately detect adulteration of MS and HSD by kerosene. A tender has been floated for a new marker system and the selection process is on. While selecting the marker, the prime concern is to examine the effect of marker on properties of kerosene as well as the effect that the marked kerosene creates. Accordingly, an ideal marker should have the following properties: 8The marker should not be launderable 8The marker should not impart any colour to the kerosene and marked kerosene should conform to the current IS 1459 specification 8The marker should be compatible with all types of Indian and imported kerosene including blue dyed kerosene 8The marker should be occupationally and toxicologically safe and a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is required to be provided proving this by the supplier (Click on Details for more information)) Details
Marker for detecting adulteration of fuels: OMCs' satisfied with the quality of markers on offer
March 15: 8While the quest for a new marker system which can accurately detect adulteration of petrol and diesel with kerosene is still on, the oil marketing companies (OMCs), nonetheless, are pleased with the quality of markers offered by international manufacturers against a new tender. 8In June, 2010, the OMCs had issued an Expression of Interest (EoI) for supply of a new marker system. A total of five suppliers then responded to the global query. These were: John Hogg Technical Solutions Ltd., U.K., Johnson Matthey Chemicals India Pvt. Ltd., Rohm & Hass (India) Pvt. Ltd., SGS, U.K. and United Colour Manufacturing Inc., USA. 8More than eight months have lapsed since then and the markers supplied by these companies are still being tested for launderability as well as other criteria. But the comforting point seems to be that the markers which have been submitted by these companies for testing have been found to be, prima facie, considerably better than the Authentix marker system which was in use between 2006 and 2008. 8According to sources, two types of markers have been offered by the suppliers. The first type is not launderable with clay or sunlight, but is launderable with activated charcoal. However, such a marker has been observed to be cheaper as tests have revealed detection of adulteration without use of expensive equipments. 8The second type of marker is not launderable with any known agent but requires laboratory testing. Since field level testing is not possible, random sampling is being done to test tthe efficacy of this marker. 8The OMCs, along with the industry, are now studying the pros and cons of both types of marker systems. Based on cost economics as well as accuracy, a decision on the matter is expected soon. (Click on Details for more information) Details
Marker for detecting adulteration of fuels: Why Authentix was show the door?
March 15: 8It is a known fact that the marker system developed by the British manufacturer, Authentix, and employed by the Indian oil marketing companies (OMCs) in late 2006 proved to be unsuccessful. The manufacturer was subsequently shown the door in September, 2008. It was claimed that Authentix failed to live up to its claims and its marker had little success. An audit carried out of various samples of auto fuel from Retail Outlets (ROs) in 2007 revealed a series of test failures. Furthermore, it was observed that more than one-third of the failed samples were cleared on retesting. This shortcoming was over and above the fact that the Authentix marker detected adulteration in small number of samples while the actual level of adulteration was thought to be much higher. 8But in a recent reply to a parliamentary question, the petroleum ministry said that the real reason why the marker was discontinued was because IOC's vigilance department had, in September, 2008, detected that a brown chemical powder was being used to effectively negate the efficiency of the marker system. This was corroborated by findings in laboratory test conditions. 8In reply to the parliamentary question, the petroleum ministry made the contrary claim that the program was indeed a success and had proved to be a superior detection method in comparison to the prevalent methods of checking adulteration. Data proffered by the ministry showed that for the period February, 2007 to March, 2008, a total of 99,170 inspections were carried out at retail outlets (ROs) using the Authentix marker system and adulteration was detected at 391 ROs. Thus the strike rate of the system worked out to 0.39%. However, through the conventional BIS tests, the OMCs strike rate against a total inspection of 85,660 ROs, during the same period, was a mere 69 cases, or just 0.08% proven cases vis-a-vis inspections.Furthermore, during the April-December 2008, period, the Authentix marker system detected 186 cases against 76,302 inspections carried out. The strike rate worked out to 0.24% which was far higher than the strike rate of OMCs (0.02%) achieved during the same period through the conventional system.