Swiss traders blame governments for dirty fuel in Africa

By Michelle Faul, Associated Press

 

Swiss commodity traders accused of deliberately blending toxic fuel and dumping it in West Africa say African governments are to blame for failing to invest in refineries and newer vehicles to lower exhaust emissions that cause respiratory and other diseases.

A commercial bus with smoke coming from it's exhaust system is driven on a street in Lagos, Nigeria Monday Sept. 19, 2016. Swiss commodity traders accused of deliberately blending toxic fuel and dumping it in West Africa say African governments are to blame for failing to invest in refineries and newer vehicles to lower exhaust emissions that cause respiratory and other diseases. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Swiss commodity traders accused of deliberately blending toxic fuel and dumping it in West Africa say African governments are to blame for failing to invest in refineries and newer vehicles to lower exhaust emissions that cause respiratory and other diseases.

"What is very clear is that the role of improving fuel quality in Africa clearly rests with African governments, not with the fuel suppliers," the Geneva-based African Refiners Association representing many traders said in a letter obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.

It was responding to allegations from Swiss watchdog Public Eye accusing traders of deliberately adding toxic products that lower fuel quality to increase profits at the expense of Africans' health.

Public Eye said traders including Vitol and Trafigura provide Europe with fuel meeting European Union standards of 10 parts per million of sulfur while creating what's called "African Quality" fuel that has 2,000 ppm or more of sulfur. Nigeria, for example, allows up to 3,000 ppm of sulfur in petrol.

Nigeria's Department of Petroleum Resources called the Public Eye report "grossly exaggerated."

The refiners' association noted the traders' essential role in "the survival and growth" of economies in Africa, which imports more than 50 percent of its fuel. "If Swiss traders followed the report recommendation today their role would be filled by traders from other nations who would simply supply the quality required to meet the official specifications. The result would be that nothing would change in Africa," it said.

Public Eye responded Monday that "African governments should set stricter standards, international donors should invest in desulfurizing technologies ... and trading companies should stop bringing in high-sulfurous fuels."

It said the U.N. Environment Program says low-sulfur fuels can reduce harmful emissions by 50 percent by switching from 2,000 ppm sulfur fuels to 10 ppm.

 

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

Whitepapers

Making DDoS Mitigation Part of Your Incident Response Plan: Critical Steps and Best Practices

Like a new virulent strain of flu, the impact of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is...

The Multi-Tax Challenge of Managing Excise Tax and Sales Tax

To be able to accurately calculate multiple tax types, companies must be prepared to continually ...

Operational Analytics in the Power Industry

Cloud computing, smart grids, and other technologies are changing transmission and distribution. ...

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>

Archived Articles

PennEnergy Articles
2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGFJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Intl Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Utility Products Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

HydroWorld Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

COSPP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

ELP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013