European oil companies, especially Swiss commodity traders, are exploiting weak African fuel standards by selling toxic diesel and gasoline across the continent, a campaign group said Thursday.
A three-year investigation published by Switzerland-based environmental and economic group Public Eye did not accuse oil companies of breaking any laws.
But it charged several firms with using an “illegitimate strategy” to boost profits, hawking so-called “African quality” fuels that have had devastating health and environmental impacts across many sub-Saharan states.
In a 160-page report based on research in eight African countries, Public Eye found fuels sold at the pump which contained high levels of toxins, notably sulphur.
In Africa, sulphur limits are on average 200 times higher.
“By selling such fuels at the pump in Africa, the traders increase outdoor air pollution, causing respiratory disease and premature death,” said the report from Public Eye, a group previously known as the Bern Declaration and founded in 1968.
Among the key culprits, Public Eye named Swiss traders Vitol and Trafigura as well as the multi-national energy group Oryx, which specialises in the African market.
In a statement sent to AFP, Vitol called the report “inaccurate and misinformed,” stressing that African governments were responsible for setting their own fuel standards.
Oryx made the same case, noting in a statement that it sells fuel products “that strictly comply with the national legislation of each client country.”
– Call to act –
Public Eye tested fuel sold in Angola, Benin, Congo-Brazzaville, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal and Zambia.
While sub-Saharan Africa includes major oil producers like Angola and Nigeria, limited refining capacity on the continent means that most African oil is sold as crude on the international market.
States then import fuel products refined abroad, often from European traders.
These transactions often involve regional brokers in Africa, who are sometimes responsible for mixing the fuel.
Public eye called on African governments “to set stringent fuel quality standards” in line with European levels, arguing that was the most effective way to crack down on toxic blends.
Fears that banning low-quality blends will raise costs for consumers are misguided, the report said.
It noted that measures in East Africa to limit sulphur continent had “no impact on prices at the pump.”
Importing better fuel would also lower healthcare expenses and reduce vehicle maintenance costs in the long run, Public Eye argued.
With many of the toxic blends produced in Europe and the United States, Public Eye urged Western governments to ban the export of fuel products that do not meet their own domestic standards.
Communities in Delta State Shut OML30 Operates by Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd
The OML30 operated by Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited in Delta State has been shut down by the host communities for failing to meet its obligations to the 112 host communities.
The host communities, led by its Management Committee/President Generals, had accused the company of gross indifference and failure in its obligations to the host communities despite several meetings and calls to ensure a peaceful resolution.
The station with a production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day and eight flow stations operates within the Ughelli area of Delta State.
The host communities specifically accused HEOSL of failure to pay the GMOU fund for the last two years despite mediation by the Delta State Government on May 18, 2020.
Also, the host communities accused HEOSL of ‘total stoppage of scholarship award and payment to host communities since 2016’.
The Chairman, Dr Harrison Oboghor and Secretary, Mr Ibuje Joseph that led the OML30 host communities explained to journalists on Monday that the host communities had resolved not to backpedal until all their demands were met.
Crude Oil Recovers from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins
Oil Prices Recover from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins
Crude oil prices rose with other financial markets on Monday following a 4 percent decline on Friday.
This was after Joe Biden, the former Vice-President and now the President-elect won the race to the White House.
Global benchmark oil, Brent crude oil, gained $1.06 or 2.7 percent to $40.51 per barrel on Monday while the U.S West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.07 or 2.9 percent to $38.21 per barrel.
On Friday, Brent crude oil declined by 4 percent as global uncertainty surged amid unclear US election and a series of negative comments from President Trump. However, on Saturday when it became clear that Joe Biden has won, global financial markets rebounded in anticipation of additional stimulus given Biden’s position on economic growth and recovery.
“Trading this morning has a risk-on flavor, reflecting increasing confidence that Joe Biden will occupy the White House, but the Republican Party will retain control of the Senate,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.
“The outcome is ideal from a market point of view. Neither party controls the Congress, so both trade wars and higher taxes are largely off the agenda.”
The president-elect and his team are now working on mitigating the risk of COVID-19, grow the world’s largest economy by protecting small businesses and the middle class that is the backbone of the American economy.
“There will be some repercussions further down the road,” said OCBC’s economist Howie Lee, raising the possibility of lockdowns in the United States under Biden.
“Either you’re crimping energy demand or consumption behavior.”
Nigeria, Other OPEC Members Oil Revenue to Hit 18 Year Low in 2020
Revenue of OPEC Members to Drop to 18 Year Low in 2020
The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) has predicted that the oil revenue of members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will decline to 18-year low in 2020.
EIA said their combined oil export revenue will plunge to its lowest level since 2002. It proceeded to put a value to the projection by saying members of the oil cartel would earn around $323 billion in net oil export in 2020.
“If realised, this forecast revenue would be the lowest in 18 years. Lower crude oil prices and lower export volumes drive this expected decrease in export revenues,” it said.
The oil expert based its projection on weak global oil demand and low oil prices because of COVID-19.
It said this coupled with production cuts by OPEC members in recent months will impact net revenue of the cartel in 2020.
It said, “OPEC earned an estimated $595bn in net oil export revenues in 2019, less than half of the estimated record high of $1.2tn, which was earned in 2012.
“Continued declines in revenue in 2020 could be detrimental to member countries’ fiscal budgets, which rely heavily on revenues from oil sales to import goods, fund social programmes, and support public services.”
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