Islamabad - Oil companies are selling petrol with a harmful chemical, which may damage car engines, the government revealed on Thursday.

Minister in-charge of the Petroleum Division in a written reply told National Assembly it was a fact that oil companies in Pakistan were utilising ‘manganese’ in motor gasoline, which could cause damage to vehicle engines after exceeding certain levels.

It further said that the issue was highlighted by one of the car manufacturers who approached Ogra in October, 2017, asking government to direct oil refineries and oil marketing companies to provide internationally approved quality standards of fuel to Pakistani market.

Processing the request, the Ogra informed Petroleum Division in November, 2017 asking for a thorough study by an independent consultant for identifying safe operating limits of metal contents to be incorporated in the current Mogas specifications.

In order to address the above issue, a committee was constituted comprising additional secretary (Petroleum Division), director general (oil), member oil (Ogra), director general (HDIP) and chief executive officer (OCAC), with a mandate to investigate the matter and propose a solution.

The committee tested samples of local and imported 90/92 RON motor gasoline to determine concentrations of Manganese (Mn) and Ferrocene (Fe). The test results presented high concentration of Mn and Fe in locally produced motor gasoline as well as imported motor gasoline. The matter was also taken up with oil marketing companies (OMCs), oil refineries, Automotive Manufacturing Industry (Honda) and Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA), the reply said.

All stakeholders submitted their input and recommendations in this regard.

Final report of the committee will be presented in the current month and will recommend the limits of heavy metal contents in the prevalent specifications of 90/92/95/97 RON local/imported motor gasoline in order to control and monitor their levels.