05 October 2016

Ghana will keep importing ‘dirty fuel’ for 3-years – NPA

fuelGhana will continue to import toxic fuel said to be containing high levels of sulphur for at least three more years.

This is because the country’s oil refinery the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR)is yet to raise money to change its equipment to lower the sulphur content in diesel.

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) on Monday [October 3] revised the acceptable national sulphur specification for diesel from maximum 3000 parts per million (ppm) to 500 ppm.

The Chief Executive Officer of the NPA, Moses Asaga told Citi Business News that TOR lacks the capacity to meet the specification hence will be forced to the maintain high Sulphur levels in its revision figures to avert a complete shutdown of TOR.

“The countries in Africa that have attempted 50 ppm, have closed down their refineries because their refineries cannot produce 50ppm. So we have taken a middle position, that is, making sure we get the right quality but at the same time keep Tema Oil Refinery in operation,” he said.

The change is to take effect from January 2017 but TOR’s current financial strength has cast doubt on effective implementation of the new sulphur specification.

Energy policy think tank, African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), in an interview with Citi Business News said thousands of Ghanaians lose their lives every year due to the inhalation of fumes from dirty diesel which contain high levels of sulphur.

ACEP in partnership with Swiss NGO, Public Eye, recently revealed that Swiss commodity trading firms are exploiting lax regulatory standards to sell dirty diesel to African countries including Ghana.

The report which surveyed eight African countries including Ghana, indicated that the Sulphur content of diesel samples in such countries was more than 300 times the acceptable level in Europe, US and Kenya in Africa which has 50 parts per million (ppm).

However Asaga stated that “the 500ppm is to make sure that technically the Tema Oil Refinery will be able to produce the 500ppm when it comes to the importation, the Bulk Distribution Companies, they will import the 10ppm and the Tema Oil Refinery’s 500ppm can then be blended to come to required standard.”

He also said the closure of the refinery will lead to a loss of jobs for many hence the decision to wait for three years.

“If we close the refinery, it will mean that there will be loss of jobs and chaos so there is a timeline for ECOWAS that all refineries should be given three (3) years for them to upgrade their equipment and the only equipment the Tema Oil Refinery requires now is a de-sulphurizer to be able to reduce the Sulphur levels to the 10ppm.

Source: citifmonline.com

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