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Again, NNPC sets July 1 date for phase out of sulphur in diesel

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it will cut the sulphur level allowed in diesel by July 1, this year.

This is coming after two failed attempts to enforce the ban on importation of dirty fuels into the country on July 1, 2017, and December same year.

Before now, four West African nations including Nigeria had promised higher quality by July 2017 as part of a United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) campaign, but only Ghana met the deadline.

Nigeria imports about 900,000 tonnes of petrol every month, accounting for 60 per cent of West African imports of the fuel, meaning its choice of fuel quality is likely to impact on the entire region.

The Chief Operating Officer of Refineries and Petrochemicals, NNPC, Mr. Anibor Kragha, in a presentation to the African Refiners Association (ARA), said the country would lower the top level of sulphur in diesel to 50 parts per million from 3,000ppm, by July 1, according to Reuters. Petrol sulphur level cuts, a cost that will be born largely by the government due to capped prices for the fuel, will start in October, moving to 300ppm from 1,000ppm.

Nigeria was targeting a cut to 150ppm by October 1, 2019, Kragha said.

Industry analysts say with the mixed experience of the government in handling issues relating to fuel crisis and pricing template, it may not be able to meet the deadline as the country is largely fed with imported products even though it remains the sixth world largest exporter of crude oil.

Besides, the government as it may, will not like to do anything capable of causing shocks to the buying public within a very short time to general election to avoid bandwagon effects capable of pushing it out of power.

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