OfReg finds no support for poor fuel quality allegation

| 09/06/2022 | 65 Comments
BarCam gas station (from social media)

(CNS): Allegations posted on social media accusing a local gas station of diluting fuel were immediately investigated by the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg), which found them to be unfounded. Although no formal complaints were made to the gas station in question, BarCam Esso, or to OfReg, in response to the anonymous complaint, which was re-posted on Cayman Marl Road, an investigation was initiated that same day, 4 June, OfReg said.

Within an hour of the allegations, a team visited the gas station, located on the East-West Arterial Rd, Patricks Island, and took gasoline and diesel samples from the tanks and nozzles for observation and testing, the regulator said. They also checked the dispensers for any defects which could contribute to product quality issues.

The checks carried out included a visual “clear and bright” check, and the octane and cetane ratings were tested for the gasoline and diesel respectively. Samples were taken from the area of the tank, which is designed in such a way that any water or settlement in the tank can be easily detected. The visual test results showed that all samples were clear and bright and that there was no indication of water, sediment/particles, discolouration or cloudiness present, the regulator explained in a press release.

OfReg CEO Peter Gough said the regulator was committed to protecting consumers in all utility areas that it regulates and this includes regular monitoring and inspection of fuels in Cayman. “Fuel quality is regulated in Cayman in line with global standards and begins at the refinery, with fuel importers required to analyse and present a certificate of quality for all fuels prior to importing,” he said.

“To ensure the accredited quality of fuel is preserved as the fuel moves through the local supply chain, OfReg carries out tests on octane, cetane and ethanol blend in fuels on a random basis. These checks also look for any evidence of contamination or tampering of any kind. As part of our remit, OfReg continuously aims to improve fuel quality standards and is actively working to procure more equipment to allow us to conduct even more frequent analysis of fuels on a broader range of quality parameters. We expect to put this new equipment into use later in 2022,” Gough added.

The results of the octane levels for the regular and premium gasoline obtained were 91.7 and 93.7 respectively after repeated tests.* Diesel cetane results were 43.7 after repeated tests. Both gasoline and diesel test results were above the minimum globally accepted standards. Additional samples from the gas station and from the bulk storage tank at the respective Jackson Point terminal were collected for further testing overseas at an accredited laboratory.

OfReg said it will publish the results when they become available in two to three weeks.

*CNS note: The penultimate paragraph was amended to reflect different octane levels for premium and regular gas after OfReg corrected their statement.

See how to submit a formal complaint to OfReg here.

All complaints are treated in the strictest confidence.


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Category: Business, Fuel, Politics, Private Sector Oversight, Retail

Comments (65)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    are the fuels inspectors at ofreg certified to take sample of fuels to be tested to the lab. how many persons in ofreg fuels sector have valid certification to do their job description and duties?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Certification is easy but even if they have it I would not trust either OfReg or contractors such as J&R doing it unbiased and without conflict. Fuel sampling needs to be unannounced otherwise it gives facilities time to prepare and increase chances of clean sample. Results are only valid if proper sampling procedures are followed and chain of custody is strictly maintained and overseen by a credible third party.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Does OfReg or the Cayman islands have fuel standards rather than using US standards/International fuel standards or adapting Sol or Rubis fuel Standards since 2017 OfReg was putting place Fuel Standards for the Cayman islands the Public needs to know if this committee exists..

    • Anonymous says:

      Their lab in Puerto Rico applies minimum ASTM standards for gasoline. Basically, anything less and it can’t be labeled as gasoline. Not high standards.

  3. Anonymous says:

    F31, which OfReg attributes to “F&B II Esso on SMB”, the Esso on West Bay Road beside Burger King, recorded the following anomalies on 05NOV2019:

    Pump #8 Regular 5000 05NOV19 10:24am (see page 10):
    MON Octane = 87.4 ASTMD2700C
    Anti-knock = 93.2 ASTMD4814

    Pump #8 Premium 8000 05NOV19 10:26am (see page 8):
    MON Octane = 87.4 ASTMD2700C
    Anti-knock = 93.2 ASTMD4814
    with slightly more unwashed gum than adjacent sampled Regular

    https://www.ofreg.ky/fuel/upimages/publication/FuelAnalysisJuly2019toDecember2019_1598472365.pdf

    • Anonymous says:

      FCU/ACC should be all up in OfReg for ignoring their own test data and betraying public confidence as a public “regulator”. If they are more concerned about business owners, what are they being paid to look the other way? This is very serious.

      • Anonymous says:

        KYD$0.19 spread between pumps, per gallon, per vehicle fill-up, over years. For our household of two vehicles, 26 years, 2 fill-ups per month, assuming approx 50 gals…100 x 12 x 26 x 0.19 = approximately KYD$5,928 they stole from us. For every 1000 customers that’s almost $6,000,000 in ritualised consumer fraud. At what point do the Police get involved? Who owns this station?!?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Within an hour of the allegations, a team visited the gas station, located on the East-West Arterial Rd, Patricks Island, and took gasoline and diesel samples

    Somebody tell me this isn’t true. Please! Those useless A**holes react within an hour to information posted on a well-known rumour mill, but sit on their lazy asses for years not doing any of the things they are supposed to do.

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    • Anonymous says:

      IKR? Our Coast Guard can’t even turn their radar on and locate capsize victims adrift in the Northsound within an hour. They need to hire some of these psychic J&R guys – especially if they can also test the octane onsite without a suitable lab. That’s talent!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    We need an investigation. Call in Clouseau or perhaps Frenchie from Casablanca as he rounds up the usual suspects.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    “Both gasoline and diesel test results were above the minimum globally accepted standards”, thus revealing the OfReg quality benchmark to be the absolute bare minimum that can still be labelled as gasoline. Aim high Cayman.

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    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      Yes. Not ‘well above’, just ‘above’, as in not below.

      This is akin to contractors bragging about having “passed” their Planning inspection. They passed the legally acceptable minimum, where we should be far exceeding that measurement.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Yup we’re getting ripped off EVERYWHERE

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  8. Anonymous says:

    They also need to check the calibration of pumps. I once bought from a pump calibrated in US gallons. The station owner didn’t argue and promptly gave me the additional gas when I called it to his attention.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    So basically OffReg needs CMR to help them do their job.

    Someone, calling you Wayne, needs to shoo this dog.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not a fan of Ofreg but your comment is ridiculous. How is CMR doing Ofregs job? No complaints were made to Ofreg in their portal and ignored before CMR raised them. And the complaints were investigated promptly anyway and turned out to have no basis. So how exactly should Ofreg have done things differently, or what part of their job did they not do?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Ofreg eyeballed a clear and bright check by holding a beaker sample up to the sun. They did not perform a taste test, and don’t have the lab equipment to bench test octane levels, or other impurities testing so how can any reasonable person sound an all clear without the requisite follow up results? Truth matters.

        • Anonymous says:

          Some people think that OfReg is just another feeding trough for friends and family of certain people in government…… and some people may be right.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Alleging water in fuel is always a bizarre way to complain about gas prices.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How do we feel about Regular and Premium pumps drawing from the same holding tank, yet priced at wide margins? What are your consumer fraud calibrations?

      CNS: OfReg has amended its statement. See note at the bottom.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Where is the OfReg amended statement on their site? How exactly did they test octane without RON or MON ASTM lab and machinery on island? Where are these results and methods published? Who was the qualified person conducting these tests and signing off on results? What was the chain of custody on the samples? I’m sure OfReg would welcome this transparency opportunity.

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      • Anonymous says:

        CNS, I invite you to have a close look at Eric Rodriguez’s findings on pages 8 (Premium) and 10 (Regular) at same pump at same station, 2 minutes apart…KYD$0.19/gal pump spread in price:

        https://www.ofreg.ky/fuel/upimages/publication/FuelAnalysisJuly2019toDecember2019_1598472365.pdf

        How did we miss OfReg’s investigation and fine of this retailer?

  11. Anonymous says:

    $6.92 for regular at BarCam this evening. $5.97 at Jose’s. If you buying it, you deserve what you get.

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  12. _||) says:

    CMR will post literally anything just for a few clicks then brag that they’re 99% correct.

    S running that show doesn’t realize that while she thinks that she’s doing a good service, she also does bad to good people.

    CNS might be 99% correct too, but at least they don’t blatantly post hear-say that can damage innocent people and businesses.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ofreg ruled out water and sediment by holding it up to the light. They don’t have a lab here. A bit premature to fully disregard the complaint.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah and the complainants had a private lab! Your thesis is that the punters could detect water, sediment and below octane fuel ratings simply based on the performance of their vehicles but which a proper octane test and a visual inspection didn’t find ( but will be magic revealed by an overseas lab?). Or maybe, just maybe, the complaint was unfounded but my you would prefer to believe that Ofreg was wrong?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Excuse me, did they just say that the octane rating for regular and premium came back as the same? Surely that’s got to be a misprint right?

    CNS: Here’s the full press release. Let me know if you think we misquoted them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They came back the same for both 6000 and 8000 at a single retail Esso per Bureau Veritas lab results.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So the Premium is the exact same as Regular?

      I have been getting Premium for my car for 15 years!

      I thought Premium had an octane rating of 93?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Why? You only need high octane if you run a very high performance high compression or turbo engine. I doubt there are more than a dozen cars on island that should use premium and even if they are less than 20 years old regular won’t do then any harm.

      • Anonymous says:

        You have then unknowingly ripped yourself off for 15 years , sadly. Just buy regular , Bobo.

    • Anonymous says:

      Both within the acceptable range for Premium but yeah. Idiots paying more just to use that pump with the high number printed on it deserve to pay more.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “Excuse me while I light my spliff; (spliff)
      Oh, God, I gotta take a lift: (lift)
      From reality I just can’t drift; (drift)
      That’s why I am staying with this riff. (riff)”

      -Bob Marley

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    • Anonymous says:

      So, it seems there’s literally no difference between the two. I’m only buying regular from now on then.

      It seems octane is like internet providers claimed speeds!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    OfReg actually subcontract to professional gov’t contract yes men “J&R Industrial Services” who then undertake the sample testing and outcome solution. J&R send samples, not to Miami, but to French company “Bureau Veritas” in Puerto Rico. It’s odd that samples wouldn’t just go to their Miami Fort Lauderdale lab, given our direct daily contact with Miami. The last lab sampling exercise of retail pumps published was Dec 15, 2020, 7 pumps tested from 4 or 5 stations, so it’s a bit of a stretch to qualify that as “regular” sampling.

    https://www.ofreg.ky/fuel/upimages/publication/FuelQualitySamplingTestingandCertificateofAnalysis2020Redacted_1611903387.pdf

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    • Anonymous says:

      To assure quality of results a round robin needs to be carried out at least biannually. Samples need to be split when take and sent off to at least 2 separate labs with oversight from another contractor and an OfReg rep. At present the sampling regime is primed for ‘rigging’.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Tell that to my $200 fuel pipe clear and cleaning when my car didnt start or drive due to all the gunk in my fuel.
    BRAND NEW CAR OFF THE LOT BTW. SIX MONTHS OLD.

    Esso is the worst. its simple.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    so what other urban myths will ofreg now debunk???
    what about the pedro castle duppy?

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Some years ago it was discovered that a metering device used to dose an additive into Rubis fuel malfunctioned due to improper installation by their contractor. This was the same contractor that was responsible for the fire at the Sol (Esso) facility. While the metering device was being repaired Rubis staff were dosing the additive to tankers by bucket.

    Fuel quality has always been a frequent issue at both bulk facilities due to improper handling and storage, incorrect dosing of additives, poorly maintained filtration and dewatering equipment and not to mention poorly maintained tanks at some fuel stations. Internal checks and spot checks by external contractors don’t always pick these issues up and if they do, the problems are not necessarily rectified immediately.

    OfReg are ultimately responsible but unfortunately complacency seems to rule. There is also a closeness between certain contractors and fuel suppliers that prevents significant and deterrent penalties being levied if negligence is ever found. The same players are involved in this dereliction of duty but considering they are still in their positions it is doubtful there will be a significant change unless OfReg is dissolved and or completely routed.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Pity they Ofreg don’t act as fast or concerned, when we get reamed daily at the pump by fuel price gouging!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think you understand what price gouging is…

      The price is high, but it is not “gouging”.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It is “gouging” when they raise the prices AS SOON AS barrels go up, even tho they bought it at the lower rate.

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        • Anonymous says:

          They dont do this though, you’re making things up. All price raises are reported to Offreg and have to be justified.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hell it’s not. The fuel providers always…. ALWAYS cover their margin plus plus. Plus all anticipated problems and then some. We have no choice but to pay, or ride an electric vehicle or bike.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Its a business not a charity, of course they will keep a margin, but the service stations make the same profit whether fuel is $3 or whether its $8. Gas stations in Cayman have never been allowed to charge a percentage markup.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Without an accredited fuel lab on island, how on Earth can Ofreg attest that gasoline hasn’t been adulterated with something other than water or sediment? Ethanol is a corn based additive used by Refuel. Esso and Sol aren’t supposed to be cutting with ethanol, but who’s to say? Ofreg sends all fuel samples off island to accredited lab, and even disregard those results when 8000 samples returns the same as 6000 grade fuel at retailer pumps pricing a 20 cent spread. No investigation, no fine, no action taken against these crooked retailers. Proof is in ofregs own lab reports!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Setting up local independent lab is cost and politically prohibitive unless unless it is “politically influenced and subsidized”.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly!
      The same with Cayman International School (CIS) declaring “safe air” (not by an independent third party) after major, catastrophic (as Alden had said once) Dump fires. Administration of CIS uses some sort of hand held bought on Amazon cheap devices to “analyse “ air quality indoor to declare it is safe for the children to comeback. They don’t even bother with surfaces, both indoors and outdoors contamination analysis, including soil, ground coverings, play equipment, HVAC, air ducts etc. etc.
      To establish indoor air quality, proper sampling and analysis at an accredited air testing laboratory is the first step.

      I also remember that Frank Sound farm was cleared of arsenic poisoning. There were many flaws in testing process conducted by The Pan American Health Organisation, which were obvious even for a lay person. The mere fact that Quality Management and Control of the project did not exist, speaks volumes of the “results”.
      Quality Control consists of the observation techniques and activities used to fulfill requirements for quality.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Soil sampling quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program requires the identification and quantification of all sources of error associated with each step of a monitoring program so that the resulting data will be of known quality. The components of error, or variance, include those associated with sampling, sample preparation, extraction, analysis, and residual error.

        https://caymannewsservice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Arsenic-exposure-investigation-Cayman-Report-October-2015.pdf
        The Quality Control on page 19 of the report does NOT pertain to the SOIL SAMPLING quality assurance management.
        Quality assurance can be defined as “part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled.“
        Unless there’s a separate quality assurance/controls (QA/QC) report that describes general and specific procedures, methods and considerations used and observed when collecting soil samples (as well as collection of Nail clippings, Food, and Water Samples) for field screening and lab analysis, the “Report on the Analysis of Arsenic…” provided by PAHO is incomplete. If QA/QC management for the project was skipped, the investigation report has questionable value.

        https://caymannewsservice.com/2015/10/tests-reveal-no-health-threats-on-poisoned-land/

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        • Anonymous says:

          When you need to ensure a lab report shows the results you want you send it to your bobo at a lab in Jamaica. I’m not discriminating as some labs in the USA will “fix” results to if you’re a good customer.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Zzz, send your kids to Triple C if you’re that concerned.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Cool story. Anyone know how to anonymously submit complaints to Planning about blatant violations?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t bother as I would seriously consider how your complaint is handled and how or if its confidentiality will be maintained.

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    • Anonymous says:

      yeah don’t bother. I reported a home in my neighbourhood that is just nasty. Constantly being added to with some bodged extension using poor quality materials and being slung up by the owner. The house is now almost 4 times the original footprint and comes right up to the boundary on two sides with no setback. Clearly no planning permission has been applied for or granted, and no regard to setback limits etc. Nothing happened. This last week he started laying some more dodgy 2 inch thick foundations for another extension which is going to bring it right up to the boundary on my side. I’ll report again this week and nothing will be done again. Different rules for different folks.

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      • Anonymous says:

        And how many of such buildings with numerous additions violate fire safety codes?

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      • Anonymous says:

        I thought I was the only person living in an area where this sort of thing is going on, 4:11. It would be instructive for a team from Planning to spend a couple of days just driving down all the roads in the island to view the illegal activity going on. They could take someone from Environmental health, too, to see the derelict vehicles and containers all about the place. Time to get your minds out of the gated communities, guys and gals, and see what the rest of us have to put up with.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wish you luck on that one. I reported a violation about a house on the main road after passing Moonbeam Drive, Hirst Road, on the left heading towards the college, whereby the owner has constructed a driveway out of wood and gravel. This driveway goes straight out to the road leaving pedestrians no choice but to either walk over it or step out into the road to avoid it which is not good when you have these crazy drivers that speed everyday on that road. I almost got knocked over right in front of this house recently because of this situation. Where are the authorities for cases such as this???

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