4th April, 2017.
SON RELEASES NEW INDUSTRIAL STANDARDS ON PETROLEUM PRODUCTS.
Benin City, Nigeria…Sequel to campaigns embarked upon by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, since 2016 in collaboration with the Swiss NGO, Public Eye, seeking a reduction of the Sulphur content of fuels imported to Nigeria and other West Africa countries from Europe, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, has released new approved Nigerian Industrial Standards for Petroleum Products.SON in a letterof March 31, 2017 to ANEEJ endorsed by Head of Department, Product Certification Directorate, Mr. Tersoo Orngudwem on behalf of the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the agency
stated that the approved reduction in the sulphur content of imported petroleum products is in line with standards accepted worldwide.
SON’s letter to ANEEJ reads in part:
“I am also to inform you that recently approved Nigerian Industrial Standards for Petroleum Products in which the specification for sulphur was reviewed downwards in line with the world trend is as follows:
NIS: 116:2017 – Standard for Premium Motor Spirit(PMS) – Sulphur Content – 150ppm (max)
NIS: 949: 2017 – Standard for Diesel Fuel (AGO) – Sulphur Content – 50ppm (max)
NIS: 949:2017 – Standard for Household Kerosene (HHK) – Sulphur Content – 150ppm (max)”
The clarification was a product of an ANEEJ request to the SON on the reduction of the Sulphur content of fuels imported into the country from Europe.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria also appreciated ANEEJ’s advocacy for clean air for all. ” I am directed to write and convey to management of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) appreciation to you for your contributions as an advocate of clean air and better health for all.”
ANEEJ Executive Director, the Rev David Ugolor in a swift reaction said that this was a major breakthrough for Nigeria and ANEEJ, considering the allied negative implications of having one of the highest sulphur content fuels imported into the West African sub-region by unscrupulous importers. ‘Prior to our campaign, we had a situation wherein key cities in Nigeria, Aba Umuahia, Onitsha and Kaduna were designated by the World Health Organisation, WHO, as four of the worst air-polluted cities in the world. We are pleased with this clarification from SON, and we look forward to a meeting later this month with SON to endorse the said reductions and seek to enforce these clarifications’, the Rev Ugolor said.
In September 2016, ANEEJ collaborated with non-government organizations in West Africa and Public Eye, Switzerland, to campaign for a reduction of high-sulphur content of petroleum products imported to West Africa. The organization held a street campaign and thereafter addressed a world press conference in Abuja with representatives of the government and CSOs in attendance. ANEEJ also participated in the high level ministerial meeting in Abuja Dec 1, 2016 involving representatives from Ghana, Benin Republic, Togo, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. Other organizations represented at the high-level meeting included UNEP, International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), African Refiners Association (ARA), ECOWAS Commission, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) as well as the Media.
The Abuja session deliberated extensively on the reduction of sulphur levels in fuel, better Vehicular Performance in the sub-region, and mechanisms to achieve sulphur reduction in fuel. The meeting noted that air pollution is a major public health concern with 3,000,000 deaths resulting from outdoor air pollution. At that meeting 92% of people live where limits exceed WHO limits (WHO), mostly from developing countries. Therefore, a switch to low sulphur diesel plus the use of cleaner vehicles would result in annual savings in health costs of about $6billion in Sub-Saharan Africa. The meeting also resolved that reducing sulphur component of air pollutants in fuels will reduce direct emissions of both sulphur dioxide and sulphate particulate matter from all vehicles (old and new) leading to gains in health and the environment.
‘While we were at the high level meeting, we found out that standards for fuel for half of the world is at 10ppm vehicular emission standard except West Africa which is far above prescribed standards. Nigeria’s Environment Minister then, Hajia Amina Mohammed, joined the rest of West Africa to ban the importation of Dirty Fuels to West Africa. This recent clarification from the SON therefore is a step in the right direction. We hope that this resolution by the SON will motivate the Federal government, the Association of West African Refineries and other stakeholders, to implement and enforce the SON clarification which came as a result of the regional meeting held in Abuja on the 1st December 2016’, Rev Ugolor told the press.
ANEEJ will use the opportunity of the SON meeting of April 19, 2017 to seek further clarifications on the July timeline as deadline for the implementation of the new standards.
A link to the SON letter to ANEEJ can be found here:
A link to this Press Release on the Vanguard newspaper is below: