The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has revised the national sulphur specification for diesel from maximum 3000 parts per million (ppm) to 500 ppm, effective January 2017.
The Authority however says it will allow suppliers of fuel to Ghana to import diesel at 10ppm or lower.
According to the NPA, whilst the revised national specification will be at 500pmm, suppliers of fuel could import ultra-low-sulphur-diesels (ULSD) to Ghana as pertains in Europe.
It follows recent concerns over the harmful effects of substandard diesel which contained excessive sulphur contents than is permitted in Europe and other countries across the globe.
CEO of the NPA, Moses Asaga earlier explained to Citi Business News that Ghana’s standard of 3000 ppm falls within the regional margin quoted by countries like Nigeria and Ivory Coast.
In addition he intimated that a significant reduction in the sulphur content will cost Ghana about 300 million dollars.
“Our refinery in Ghana has been producing 1000 parts per million; as such if we want to decrease to 50 parts per million, that will imply the whole refinery will have to be re-configurated which may need a capital cost of between 200 to 300 million dollars,” he observed.
But a statement from the NPA on the new directive indicated, “The revised national specification of sulphur in diesels, was reached on Monday 3rd October, 2016 with industry stakeholders after deliberations,”
It added, “This deliberation has been part of an extensive and collaborative effort with stakeholders since 2013 on how to reduce the sulphur levels in diesels consumed by motorists in Ghana and member states in the West African sub region.”
Energy policy think tank, African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), earlier told Citi Business News that thousands of Ghanaians lose their lives every year, because they inhale fumes from dirty diesel which contain high levels of sulphur.
ACEP in partnership with Swiss NGO, Public Eye, recently revealed that Swiss commodity trading firms are exploiting lax regulatory standards to sell dirty diesel to African consumers.
The report which surveyed eight African countries including Ghana, indicated that the sulphur content of diesel samples in such countries was more than 300 times compared to that of Europe, US and Kenya in Africa which has 50 parts per million (ppm).