The petrol adulteration process
Huynh Tan Phat, Hoang Quoc Viet and Dao Tri streets in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 are home to several black market petrol stations which serve a dozens of 16,000 litre-capacity oil tankers per day. Hundreds of thousands of litres of adulterated petrol are transported from these stations to retail outlets.
Vietnam National Petroleum Corporation (Petrolimex) Tanker No.57K-8275 visited the Hoang Quoc Viet Street black market station for its fuel adulteration stop and then later carried the fuel to different stations managed by Petrolimex, including the one at No. 469 Bach Dang Street in Binh Thanh District, near the HCM City University of Agriculture and Forestry and some others in Di An Town, Binh Duong Province.
Realising that they were being watched by reporters the staff tried to hide their activities by obscuring their view of the fuel adulteration process.
The reporters also followed truck 57K-9343 of the Hieu Phuong Trading and Transport Ltd. Co. which takes petrol from PV Oil Nha Be to a stop-off point in District 7 before transporting the fuel to a private agent in Binh Chieu Ward, Thu Duc District. This location is an agent of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).
Sophisticated petrol adulteration tricks
According to the reporters, tanker drivers adopt different tricks to conceal the petrol adulteration. According to regulations, before handing over petrol to the trucks, petrol depot staff have to retain a fuel sample.
When the trucks come to petrol stations, staff also keep the fuel sample. When a quality control issue is identified management agencies compare the two samples.
In order to avoid detection, drivers only take a sample from only two of the four transportation tanks, allowing station staff to keep a sample of the original petrol.
The drivers also often deliver the petrol to stations at noon when temperatures are higher in order to take advantage of the fuel dilatation. They only need to fill in a small amount of liquid to cover hundreds of litres of petrol taken.
The fraud can bring huge profit for the drivers and transport firms. For every 400-500 litres of petrol taken from a truck and then re-sold to the adulteration stations at VND16,000-17,000 per litre, the drivers can earn VND7-8 million (USD333-380.9) per trip.
Bad-quality petrol transported to the station in Bach Dang Street
Substandard petrol taken to the station in Binh Chieu Ward, Thu Duc District
Petrol station staff conduct a superficial check on tanker 57K-8275