Five African nations shove for cleaner diesel fuel from European suppliers
Five African nations thrust for cleaner diesel fuel from European suppliers
Oil field (Photo: Flickr user johnny choura, used under CC license)
African nations have a very specific problem when it comes to dealing with emissions from diesel vehicles.
Because of lax emissions standards, traders import fuel to these countries that is too dirty for sale elsewhere.
But now a handful of African nations are taking a stand against this.
Last week, five African countries—Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Nigeria, and Benin—announced they would reject shipments of high sulfur diesel fuel from Europe, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
These countries are introducing stricter standards requiring low-sulfur fuels, and requesting that they receive the same quality of fuel suggested to European nations.
Nigeria, for one, is cutting the legally-acceptable amount of sulfur in fuels from Three,000 parts per million to fifty parts per million.
The report (pdf) was based on three years of research into the African fuel trade that included sampling fuel directly from pumps in eight countries.
Researchers found that samples contained up to three hundred seventy eight times the sulfur permitted under European regulations.
Swiss trading firms often produce sloppier grades of fuel — known as “African Quality” — themselves, and then distribute it through fuel stations they control, according to the report.
While these fuels are intended for sale in Africa, they are produced in the “ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) Zone” in Europe, where many of the trading firms have refineries.
This means West African nations that export high-quality crude oil often receive low-quality fuels with high levels of pollutants in come back.
Chrome harass pipe
The U.S.-based Diesel Technology Forum advocacy group applauded the stir, noting that the U.S. diesel industry still thrives under the stringent standards presently in place here.
“The five African nations that recognize the chance for bringing in cleaner technology and the need for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, will stir forward,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
But actually implementing the ban on high-sulfur diesel fuel could prove difficult.
“It’s not clear their populations can afford the cleaner diesel, or that is there enough cleaner diesel [produced in Europe] to meet that request ,” a source in the oil and gas industry with practice in Africa said.
African nations may also lack the infrastructure to enforce a ban, as many cannot locally test fuels for compliance.