first_imgFollowing last week’s seizure of some 200,000 gallons of suspected smuggled fuel, the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) has announced it has seized in excess of 9000 gallons of gasoline and diesel thus far for the year as part of its anti-smuggling campaign.This was revealed by the Agency on Wednesday in a statement, which detailed that GEA Inspectors have visited 3191 sites and collected 8339 fuel samples in the first quarter of the year.“This represents an achievement of 22 per cent and 24 per cent respectively for its annual target. Additionally, seven discoveries of illegal fuel were recorded and over 9000 gallons of gasoline and diesel seized for this period. There were two convictions so far and three matters are ongoing,” the GEA noted.Meanwhile, the petroleum regulatory body highlighted that a total of 11,000 gallons of illegal gasoline and diesel were seized from 29 discoveries in 2017 following 12,882 sites and 33,891 samples collected. This resulted in six convictions, while compensation was accepted from four individuals under GEA legislation in the sum of $1,237,000.According to the Agency, its work is supported by the Guyana Police Force (GPF), Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard (GDFCG) and the Guyana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) Customs Department.The GEA went on to note that the percentage of sites found with significant dilution in at least one tank continues to be no more than three per cent since 2010, with two per cent being recorded in 2017. Apart from Georgetown, the statement added, the Agency continues to operate out of bases on the Essequibo Coast, Bartica and Linden; while routine and intelligence based operations continue to be done in various areas across the country as needed.Moreover, the petroleum regulatory body said its Legal and Licensing Division continues its ‘monitoring the performance of the energy sector in Guyana, including the production, importation, distribution and utilisation of petroleum and petroleum products’ in accordance with Section 5(2) (c) of the GEA Act Chapter 56:05 as well as the provisions of the Petroleum and Petroleum Products Regulations 2014, which deals with permitting the issuance of licences of the various categories (import, wholesale, retail, bulk transportation carrier, storage, export, consumer installation) and site and vehicle inspections.These licences are required for the conduct of different types of activities concerning petroleum and petroleum products, which include diesel, gasoline, kerosene, aviation fuel, lubricants and LPG.To this end, the Energy Agency disclosed that as of December 31, 2017, there were 13 Import and Importing Wholesale Licences for importation of fuel – that is, diesel, gasoline, kerosene, and aviation fuel; 22 Import and Importing Wholesale Licences issued for the importation of either lubricants and/or LPG only; one Export Licence; 14 Wholesale Licences; 113 Retail Licences; petrol filling stations; 464 Retail Licences; others – LPG, kerosene, lubricants etc; 230 Consumer Installation Licences, and 630 Bulk Transportation Carrier Licences, issued.These issued licences are published annually in the Gazette. On this note, the GEA is reminding all licence-holders in the business of transporting, storing, retail, wholesale or importation of petroleum and petroleum products of their licensing obligations and requirements for timely renewal through submission of requisite documentation.“The obligation of conformity through the licensing process supports the GEA’s rigid stance in stamping out illegal fuel smuggling through proper monitoring, enforcement and compliance,” the petroleum regulatory body said in a statement on Wednesday.The missive comes on the heels of a shipping vessel Jubliee being discovered with over 200,000 gallons of suspected smuggled fuel, when it entered the Georgetown port on Friday and its officials failed to disclose that it had fuel to customs officials until checks were made.Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Godfrey Statia, said on Tuesday that directors of the company that owns the vessel will have to pay some $36 million in taxes to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA). He noted that the vessel was not seized, but has been impounded until the dues are paid.According to records, the fuel transported on the vessel was purchased in Trinidad with Suriname as the destination port. After that arrangement fell through, however, the vessel reportedly docked here. Reports indicate that Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) agents boarded the vessel, which was carrying fuel tanks and pumps after the crew was unable to provide the requisite documentation.Information also suggests that a senior Government official and a local sports official have direct links to the vessel, which is owned by a company incorporated in Guyana under the Companies Act in 2016. These individuals are said to be shareholders of the company since 2017.last_img