The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has waived off, for three years, an ECOWAS specification regarding the quantity of sulphur allowed in petrol and diesel produced by local refineries.
The ECOWAS Harmonised Specification for Automotive Fuels requires that automotive fuels produced locally or imported should contain sulphur levels not exceeding 50 milligram (mg)/kilogram (kg) part per million (ppm).
However, the NPA in a statement issued by its Corporate Affairs yesterday said specification had been waived temporarily with immediate effect until December 31, 2024, for only licensed local refineries.
“In view of the introduction of this interim waiver diesel and petrol produced by local refineries, it shall be allowed for sale and purchase at retail outlets and maybe co-mingled with imported products for sale to the general public… The permissible sulphur levels of diesel and petrol to be sold to the general public whether co-mingled or not shall at all times not exceed 1,500 mg/kg (ppm) within the interim waiver period,” it said.
The statement explained that implementation of the interim wavier was to ensure that local refineries remain operational, whilst they introduce measures to meet the sulphur requirements stipulated in the ECOWAS Harmonised Specifications for Automotive Fuels.
The statement said diesel and petrol imported into the country would continue to comply with the sulphur requirements stipulated by the ECOWAS.
It said the application of this interim waiver to local refineries would result in any price differentials in the sale and purchase of diesel and regular petrol at the retail outlets with respect to their permissible sulphur content.
“The general public is hereby assured that notwithstanding the implementation of this interim waiver for the local refineries, the NPA shall continue to ensure strict compliance with approved sulphur levels in the petroleum downstream industry”, it said.
The statement said where fuel from a retail outlet exceeded the sulphur content of 50 mg/kg (ppm), the dealer and oil marketing company (OMC) would be required to produce documentation evincing the consignment was procured from a local refinery, and failure to produce the required documentation may result in the application of pecuniary penalties in an amount of GH¢30,000.00 on the OMC and/or dealer.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sulphur is a natural component in crude oil that is present in gasoline and diesel unless removed.
Sulfur in gasoline impairs the effectiveness of emission control systems and contributes to air pollution. Reducing the sulphur content in gasoline enables advanced emission controls and reduces air pollution.