The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPECGH)will today petition President John Dramani Mahama to come out with new policies aimed at reducing sulphur content in imported diesel from 3,000 parts per million(ppm) to 10 ppm.
A recent study conducted by Swiss NGO Eagle Eye , in collaboration with ACEP revealed that imported diesel from Europe to African countries including Ghana had sulphur level higher than 1,500 ppm, which is 150 times the European limit of 10 ppm, hence harmful.
Speaking to Citi Business News in an interview, the Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers- Ghana, Duncan Amoah stated that the law that regulates the importation of fuel must be amended to save Ghanaians from air pollution. “We are petitioning the president because we think something ought to be done about it.
We believe that the president is also interested in public safety. Issues of the environment, issues that concerns industry,” he noted. He stated that it is pertinent for the country to begin amending its laws to correspond with international standards in order to save human lives.
Pointing to the need for a new policies, Mr. Amoah was optimistic importers will have no other choice but abide by regulations that will be announced by government to protect the environment.
“We are sending the petition to the president to insist that policies and the framework be changed so that the importers will no longer have the freewill to bring in those low grade high sulphur as we have on the market now,” he stressed. He hinted that the group will further petition parliament to help drive the need for a new policy in importing clean diesel fuel.
“We will also end a petition to the parliament of Ghana to make our issue known so that it will be addressed with time. Dumping of high content sulphur in Ghana affects all of us,” he said. Touching on the next line of action, Mr. Amoah stated that the group may petition the EU on moral grounds to help halt the practice.
Findings of Eagle Eye
According to the report, more than two-thirds of the diesel samples (17 out of 25) had a sulphur level higher than 1,500 parts per million (ppm), which is 150 times the European limit of 10 ppm.
Ghana’s sulphur content standard is pegged at 3,000 ppm, but the research found Ghana’s diesels products imported by Trafigura and Vitol to contain between 2,410 and 2,730 ppm, which is lower than the acceptable Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) limits but much higher than the 10 ppm European standard. According to the report titled: “Dirty Diesel,” differences between national fuel quality regulations offered the opportunity for companies to profit from a form of regulatory arbitrage.
While the practice of blending fuel for profit is an acceptable industry practice, it is within the law of the countries where the products are exported to, that it is the result of “regulatory arbitrage” that allows traders and fuel companies to dump cheap, dirty fuels at the expense of the health of the consuming public in Africa.
United Nations trade statistics show that the Amsterdam–Rotterdam–Antwerp oil route accounted for around 50 per cent of the declared volume of petroleum products delivered to West Africa in 2014.
The National Petroleum Authority data indicate that Ghana as of June this year, imported 1,881,350,944 metric tonnes of diesel worth more than US$1.1 billion.