5 African Countries Announce Plan To Reject High-Sulfur Diesel Fuel Shipments From Europe

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It’s been common practice for some time now to ship and sell high-sulfur diesel fuels in Africa where emissions and pollution standards are in general far more lax than they are in Europe, as a way of increasing profits on low-quality stocks.


Amazingly, recent research from the Swiss advocacy Public Eye found that some samples taken from pumps in African countries — which were “refined” in Europe, particularly in the ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) Zone — contained up to 378 times the levels of sulfur that are legal under European regulation standards.

In response to this, a coalition of 5 countries in Africa — Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Togo — have jointly announced that they will begin rejecting shipments of high-sulfur diesel fuel refined in Europe in a bid to reduce harmful emissions.

As an example, Nigeria will reportedly begin accepting only diesel fuels with under 50 parts per million of sulfur — previously the legal limit in Nigeria was 3,000 parts per million.

Green Car Reports provides more: “The US-based Diesel Technology Forum advocacy group applauded the move, noting that the US diesel industry still thrives under the strict standards currently in place here. ‘The 5 African nations that recognize the opportunity for bringing in cleaner technology and the need for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, will move forward,’ said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.”

An unnamed source in the oil and gas industry with experience in Africa, though, stated (as quoted in the Green Car Reports article): “It’s not clear their populations can afford the cleaner diesel, or that is there enough cleaner diesel (produced in Europe) to meet that demand.”

So implementation may be difficult, or impossible.

Image via Meena Kadri (CC BY-SA)

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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