This follows a December 6, 2013 legal notice by the East African Community to amend the sulphur content from 500PPM to 50PPM; to take effect from January 1, 2015.
Through the Open Tender System (OTS) Vivo Energy Kenya won the delivery of the first cargo of the automotive diesel. The tender quantity is 65,000 metric tonnes and will arrive at the end of January.
Vivo Energy Kenya Managing Director Polycarp Igathe said reduction of sulphur content in diesel is a step in the right direction: “It’s our responsibility as human beings to protect our environment, not only for the current but also for the future generations. As oil marketers we need to be responsible as we go about our business reducing harm to people and the environment at all points of our interaction with them. Complying with the sulphur content reduction in diesel, as per the legal notice, highlights that fact that we are being responsible to the environment and to citizens in the communities where we operate.”
He added that for motorists who use diesel their maintenance costs will be lowered because they will not need to change their diesel particulate filters (DPF) as often as they currently do.
“Vivo Energy Kenya is proud to have won the first cargo that will mark the start of using low sulphur fuel diesel in Kenya,” said Igathe.
Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) Managing Director, Wanjiku Manyara lauded the shift to the use of low sulphur diesel by industry players.
“The PIEA, which represents the East African oil industry, has been instrumental in promoting cleaner fuels. The environmental and health benefits of reducing sulphur in gas oil are well known and accepted by the oil industry hence the PIEA’s involvement in the development of standards and programmes that facilitate improved fuel quality.”
All East African Community countries will, from this year, market diesel with a maximum sulphur content of 50 ppm, and 150ppm for Gasoline.
The Benzene content has also been revised to a maximum of three percent as per the harmonised EAC standards. The industry, through the PIEA, has provided leadership in lobbying for the development and implementation of these standards and has demonstrated its commitment to these to protect health and the environment.
Manyara added: “We are pleased to note that the journey to reducing sulphur in fuels has been progressing well, with successful milestones. EAC countries signed up to the 2008 EA Regional Framework Agreement on Air Pollution where governments committed to enact regulations to reduce sulphur in imported AGO from 5000 to 500ppm by 2010.”
The collaboration between industry, government ministries and regulatory agencies as well as the assistance of non-governmental agencies made it possible to finally achieve the approval to develop and adopt regional harmonised low sulphur standards for petroleum products.
The benefits of LSFD cannot be understated and especially because of the adverse impact that high sulphur has on human health and the environment and also as it allows for effective use of emission control systems for diesel vehicles and equipment thereby reducing pollution and hence promoting cleaner air and better health.