The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers-Ghana (COPEC) has asked the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to peg the purity of fuels consumed in the country at 10 parts per million (ppm).
According to the Chamber, drastically reducing the high sulphur content of the fuels would save Ghanaians from painful and acute respiratory disease induced deaths and the destruction of their environment and machinery.
The NPA announced on October 3rd 2016 that it had revised the standard from the current 3000 ppm to 500 ppm effective January 2017 and that Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) should henceforth import 10ppm fuel.
The European Union (EU) has proposed Sulfur level in Diesel to pegged at 10ppm.
At a press conference in Tema, Mr Solomon Kotei, Vice Chairman, COPEC, said,” We are of the opinion that the revised standard of 500 ppm which is intended to take effect from January 2017 will not in any way fully address our concerns and that of the public and demand immediate and further reduction in the high sulphur products which the Ghanaian public has vehemently spoken against and rejected.”
According to him, “It was difficult to accept dual horizontal standards when we can maintain a common national standard that comprehensively put any refurbishment of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) as a priority which must be met in the short term while the BDCs are encouraged to import the clean 10ppm.”
He said the excuse of 500ppm using TOR as a shield cannot be allowed to stand as it has a huge tendency to wipe out any potential public gains that agitations for cleaner standards would have.
He called for urgent investment to upgrade TOR’s production of diesel and blending to meet the low and acceptable 10ppm standard.
“It is important to emphasise that the expected cost of adding desulphurisation unit to TOR plant is between 100 million –120 million dollars as mentioned by the CEO of TOR, and that is about 10 per cent of the 1.2 billion dollars expenditure on the new FPSO under construction,” he said.
He stated that another argument of waiting on Nigeria to change its standard before Ghana does, is hugely untenable and defeatist as the needs and pricing in these two countries vary completely.
The Chamber warned that it would use the legal process to ensure that the dangers posed to engines, the environment and public health are drastically reduced.
A research conducted by a Swiss based agency, the Public eye, in collaboration with the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) on the quality and standards of petroleum products especially Diesel across eight African countries including Ghana revealed high unacceptable levels of sulphur at the pumps resulting in respiratory disease, deaths and polluted environments.