The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation says “significant costs” complicated its efforts to meet UN deadline for sulphur reduction in imported fuels.
West African countries had promised as part of a United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) campaign to reduce sulphur levels in imported fuels, including gasoline and diesel by July 2017 – but only Ghana met the 2017 deadline, Reuters reports.
In his presentation to the African Refiners Association (ARA) in Cape Town, South Africa, on Tuesday, Anibor Kragha, chief operating officer, refineries and petrochemicals, NNPC, said government will bear the costs for sulphur level cuts.
“Nigeria is targeting a cut to 150 ppm by October 1, 2019,” he said.
“Nigeria will lower the top level of sulphur in diesel to 50 parts per million (ppm), from 3,000 ppm, by July 1.
“Gasoline sulphur level cuts, a cost that will be borne largely by the government due to capped prices for fuel, will start in October, moving to 300 parts per million (ppm) from 1,000 ppm.
“The first shift to cleaner gasoline would cost $11.7 million per month, and the second $15.7 million per month. The diesel reduction would cost $2.8 million per month.
“Diesel prices are deregulated, meaning consumers will pay directly for the better-quality fuels. Nigeria’s own oil refineries will have until 2021 to meet the new sulphur levels.”
The NNPC official also said the ministries of environment, health, petroleum resources and industry and trade were working jointly to lay down ground rules that fuel importers would have to abide to, in the second quarter of the year.
UNEP, the ARA and health activists have campaigned for the ban of imported fuels with high sulphur emissions.
Some of these fuels have been banned in Europe and the US for years because of their adverse health risks.