- Nigeria Fails to Enforce ban on Dirty Fuel Imports
The Federal Government’s ban on the importation of dirty fuels into the country failed to come into effect on July 1, 2017 as announced in December last year.
On December 1, 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire agreed to ban the importation of Europe’s dirty fuels, limiting sulphur in fuels from 3,000 parts per million to 50 ppm.
The then Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, said the enforcement of the ban in Nigeria would begin from July 1, 2017.
“From July 1, 2017, we will commence the enforcement of the 50ppm sulphur in fuel. And the July deadline is on all fuels, your diesel, petrol and kerosene. Everybody knows that this is going to take some efforts, which is why we gave the six months’ notice. What is more important is that we are working with the refineries on a long-term approach,” Mohammed had said.
According to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, the case for 100 ppm was made for the 2015/2016 fuel specifications, but the levels were maintained at 3,000 ppm for diesel; 1,000 ppm for Premium Motor Spirit (petrol); and 1,000 ppm for Household Kerosene.
Compared to other parts of the world, such as Europe and North America, fuel quality in many African countries, including Nigeria, is very poor.
European standards for fuel quality include Euro IV (50 ppm for petrol and diesel) and Euro V (10 ppm).
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the move to ban dirty fuel imports by Nigeria and others will dramatically reduce vehicle emissions and help more than 250 million people to breathe safer and cleaner air.
It noted that a report by Public Eye in September last year exposed how European trading companies were exploiting the weak regulatory standards in West African countries, allowing for the exportation of fuels with sulphur levels up to 300 times higher than was permitted in Europe.
When contacted on Monday, the Assistant Director, Press, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Atuora Obed, could not comment on the issue, saying, “My director is not around now.”
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is a major supplier of imported petroleum products in the country, supplying at least 50 per cent of the products in the market.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, told our correspondent that he was aware that at the refineries, measures had been put in place to control quality to ensure that “we keep to the internationally acceptable sulphur content.”
“But as regards imported products, I will find out from the unit responsible for it,” he said.
No update had been received as of the time of filing this report.
Platts reported last month that the contentious subject of an announced fuel specification change was holding up the country’s much-delayed direct sale of crude oil and direct purchase of products’ programme for 2017, citing trading sources.
It said the NNPC and government officials had previously said that from July 1, the specification of petrol imports would change to 150 ppm sulphur maximum from 1,000 ppm.
Under the DSDP model, selected overseas refiners, trading companies and indigenous companies are allocated crude supplies in exchange for delivery of an equal value of petrol and other refined products to the NNPC.
The scheme, which started in April 2016, usually covers a period of 12 months, although the 2016 programme has already been extended.