Indigenous oil marketing company, Zen Petroleum, has successfully imported and stocked its depots with fuel that has Sulphur contents of 38 parts per million (PPM) for onward retail to customers across its stations nationwide.
The company will start retailing the new fuel specifications, which is cleaner and more environmentally friendly, on July 31, a day ahead of the National Petroleum Authority’s (NPA) new dateline to OMCs to switch from fuels with Sulphur contents of 500PPM to those with 50PPM.
The authority’s directive is meant to ensure that customers of refined petroleum products enjoy high, quality grade fuel similar to what pertains in Europe.
In the fuel business, the lower the Sulphur content or specifications, the higher the quality of the fuel and the more environmental friendly it is.
Therefore, it is hoped that the switch to fuels with lower PPM will set the stage for the country to migrate to point where ultra-low-Sulphur-diesels (ULSD) and other fuels will be in vogue.
Currently, none of the 144 OMCs retail fuel with sulphur content below the 500PMM, making Zen, which is 100 per cent indigenous, the first oil marketer to in the country to achieve that feat.
The company’s CEO, Mr. William Tewiah, said Zen was keen to be the lead implementer of the initiative to show that it was possible to sell low-Sulphur diesels in the country.
“What we are doing is following the standard set by the NPA. We were working with BP (a global oil trader) for a long time and we told them that we wanted to be the first to take the initiative on this to endorse what the NPA has said,” he said.
“By this, we have come up with a better specification and proven that it was possible for a local company to do it,” he said, explaining that the company was taking the decision at a cost to itself.
“We are actually doing it at a cost to ourselves but we feel that is the price worth paying,” he said.
Mr. Tewiah said although low Sulphur diesel was expensive; there were long term benefits that would accrue to customers.
“There are some benefits for us long term which we should not lose sight off. If we are using better fuel and people are using it and not getting sick, it means health wise there are some benefits,” he said.
Zen currently controls some 4.2 per cent of the industry’s market share, making it the fourth largest retailer of refined fuel.
The company is strong in the mining business, where it supplies diesel to almost all the major mines in the country.
In line with its resolve to provide the best value in fuels and lubricants to consumers, Mr. Tewiah said Zen will be undertaking other exercises to demonstrate delivered value to customers.
He was confident that the Zen low-Sulphur diesel will help extend lives of engines reduces ventilation cost in underground mines, improve fuel economy, air quality and health as well enhance the performance of lubricants.