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BPCL’s Proficiency Testing Programme Scheme By A Special Correspondent

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) a PSU under MOP&NG, Govt. of India is one of the Indian representatives in the Fortune 500 & Forbes 2000 listings. Keeping in view the current Proficiency Testing (PT) needs of the petroleum sector in India, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, has established its PT service providing facility as BPCL Proficiency Testing at Sewree, Mumbai. This facility has been conducting various Inter Laboratory Comparison Programmes in petroleum products since last 8-10 years and have also successfully completed a no. of PT schemes as per ISO/IEC: 17043:2010.

BPCL Proficiency Testing is accredited by NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories an autonomous body under Department of Science and Technology) as a PT Provider vide No P/00003. The accreditation is for compliance with international practices, defined by ISO/IEC: 17043.

What is proficiency testing?
Proficiency Testing is the use of inter-laboratory comparison for determining the performance of individual laboratories for specific tests. Participation in proficiency testing programmes provides laboratories with an objective means of assessing and demonstrating the reliability of data they are producing. The primary objective of proficiency testing is to provide the laboratories with an information and support to demonstrate and improve the quality of their analytical measurement. It also supplements the laboratories own internal quality control procedures by adding an additional external evaluation of their testing capabilities.
 Is it mandatory for quality labs to undertake proficiency testing?
All NABL accredited labs are required to successfully participate in at least one Inter - Laboratory Proficiency Testing in accordance with ISO / IEC 17043 in every four years.

What is PT accreditation?
BPCL has received Proficiency Testing (PT) accreditation by NABL in Petroleum testing. The PT programmes are run only through nodal laboratories identified by NABL. This identification as a nodal agency for conducting PT for all labs is called as PT accreditation and the party accredited is called PT Provider. BPCL has become the first and only oil company to be accredited by NABL as a PT provider.

Why has only BPCL received the PT accreditation?
NABL provides this accreditation only to parties who have necessary competence, expertise, lab facilities and skilled manpower to conduct and assess inter laboratory comparisons for Proficiency testing. Also, this accreditation needs the party to demonstrate their compliance with a set of internationally-acceptable requirements as per ISO 17043:2010

What is NABL? Is it an international body?
National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) is an autonomous body under the aegis of Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, established with the objective to provide Government, Industry Associations and Industry in general with a scheme for third-party assessment of the quality and technical competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

Which are the other companies in India that have PT accreditation?
As on date, there are 5 NABL Accredited Proficiency Testing Providers in India, (source NABL-India website). However, for petroleum product testing, BPCL is the only accredited oil company.

Why go for BPCL proficiency testing?
The following are some of the potential benefits which may be available to participating Laboratories:
Saving on foreign exchange and cost of custom clearance as with overseas PT providers
Help laboratories to conform to the requirements of ISO/IEC: 17025 standards.
Reasonably assured quality of PT service at affordable cost which is much below the International PT provider.
Help preventive action in testing or measurement areas
Comparing various methods and procedures
Improvement in testing proficiency of the personnel
Educating staff
Instilling confidence in staff, management and users of laboratory Services
Generating reference materials
Determining method precision and accuracy
Satisfying regulators and accreditation bodies
Providing laboratories with additional resources to enable risk management

Test Programs:
The Programs conducted covers most of the petroleum products as under.
1. Motor Gasoline
2. Diesel
3. Aviation Turbine Fuel
4. Fuel Oil
5. Lubricants
Each test program covers the following major activities
a. Selection, homogenization, packing and distribution of Test Samples
The first step of program involves selection, homogenization, packing and distribution of samples of a particular product for testing by participating laboratories.  Necessary instructions and data reporting sheets are sent electronically to the participants.
b. Analysis of participant results
The results received from the laboratories are analysed statistically as per ISO 17043: 2010 and ISO 13528:2005.  Evaluation would be done for each test parameter and Robust ‘Z’ score of laboratory performance calculated.
c. Reports
Report containing details of the programme, evaluation, laboratory performance sheet would be prepared and sent to the participating laboratories.
Laboratories interested to join the program should contact the PT Coordinator for registration and other details confirmation. Mr. Subramanian R (subramanianr@bharatpetroleum.in), or Mr. Susanta Rout (susantar@bharatpetroleum.in) can be contacted for further details.

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