Oil companies spend millions of dollars establishing branded ranges of fuels and lubricants which customers trust to deliver for them, time and time again.
There can be weak links in this relationship and the supply chain is particularly vulnerable to exploitation. This can take the form of fraudulent activity by unscrupulous people who want to benefit from others’ investment.
Fuel fraud accounts for an estimated 10% of total global fuel revenues. That means an oil company with retail sales of 65bn bbl per year and a turnover of $10bn could be losing up to $1bn a year in revenue to the fraudsters and counterfeiters.
To counter these threats, tools are now available to generate robust supply chain data which means oil companies can face up to fuel fraud and put them back in control. The data is available through advances in technology with highly efficient marking and detection programmes providing a comprehensive insight into supply chain integrity. This protects the brand and prevents harm to customers, their vehicles and the environment.
Oil companies are now better equipped to reduce fuel fraud though supply chain analysis, injection of a covert marker, accurate field detection and the instant availability of analysed data.
Fuel markers today are more sophisticated and can be detected at extremely low dosages. They can be added at effective points in the fuel supply chain or at a later stage as part of valuable additives packages without affecting performance. This allows tracking and identifying fuel along the whole supply chain.
Also, direct reader markers now provide quicker and more accurate data. Using fluorescent or spectroscopic techniques improves on previous chemical markers and water-based developers which are prone to human error.
Portable direct reader detectors now offer the greatest advance in combating fuel fraud. The field readers are very simple to use, needing only a small amount of fuel to test to give highly accurate results.
Operatives carry all the equipment in a briefcase so they can work anywhere; test results are instantaneous and secure as data is encrypted and transferred immediately to the cloud using mobile connectivity.
The resulting data analysis and information provided to the oil company gives a true, end-to-end solution, enabling swift action to tackle fraud anywhere in the supply chain.
Investing in the right processes and analysis can bring a significant return, prevent potential damage to a brand and limit the social, environmental, health and political damage which inevitably comes with fraudulent activities in the fuel industry.
Oil companies – by facing up to fuel fraud and gathering data on their supply chains through state-of-the-art technology – can reduce losses and take back control of their reputation, their brand, revenue and – above all – customers.