The experts observed that the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has been playing a contradictory role in the lubricating oil market
Lubes are the life blood of oil-wetted machinery. And a stricter monitoring programme for ensuring the quality of lubricating oils is the need of the hour, say experts.
“If we fail to ensure the quality of lubricating oils, it will immensely harm the machines installed in industries, motor vehicles, power plants and other sectors," Prof Ijaz Hossain, the dean of engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), said at a webinar on Saturday.
The eminent energy expert also recommended allowing import of base oil, which is used as raw material in producing lubricants, in the virtual seminar moderated by 'Energy and Power' magazine editor Mollah Amzad Hossain.
MM Mukul Hossain, CEO of MJL Bangladesh Limited, Mohammad Yusuf, MD of Lub-rref (Bangladesh) Limited, Saifullah Kabir, managing director of Meghna Petroleum Limited and Dr Kazi Byzid Kabir, associate professor of BUET, were among others who attended the webinar, titled “EP Talks on Challenges and Prospects of Local Lubricant Industries”.
The experts observed that the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has been playing a contradictory role in the lubricating oil market. On the one hand, it is itself a regulatory agency, while on the other hand, it's engaged in the marketing of the same product.
"Such self-contradictory roles create distortion in the market as no regulator can play the role of a business agency," said Mohammad Yusuf.
The country’s current annual demand for lubricating oils is about 150,000 metric tons, while the private and public sector blending plants are producing 230,000 MT of the products, he said.
Mohammad Yusuf said that the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) and Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution (BSTI) have also been playing the regulatory roles beyond the BPC. "But despite the presence of three agencies, there is no control mechanism in place in the market to check substandard products," he said.
He also alleged that unscrupulous businessmen have been selling "used lubricants" in the market, in the garb of recycling business.
According to Mukul Hossain, there are a number of local companies that have been producing quality lubricating oils to meet the local demands. "Despite the adequate supply by local blenders, a huge quantity of lubricating oils is being imported without checking their quality," he said.
On his part, Dr Kazi Byzid Kabir said if the lubricating oils are not of requisite quality, "it could cause huge harm to the machineries, reducing their performance and working life".
“So, the issue of monitoring of the quality of lubricating oils should be taken seriously by the government and if needed, a new law be enacted for the regulation of the same."