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TOR needs $150m to produce low sulphur diesel

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The Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) will need capital injection of up to US$150 million to upgrade its infrastructure to be able to produce diesel with lower sulphur specification for the Ghanaian market, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has disclosed.

The NPA recently revised its sulphur specification for diesel from a maximum of 3000ppm to 500ppm, while allowing bulk distribution companies (BDCs) and oil marketing companies (OMCs) to import diesel with lower sulphur content of up to 10 ppm.

This means different sulphur standards will be in operation side by side from January 2017. Ahead of the implementation, the NPA has been holding a forum in Accra to discuss how to harmonise the different standards.

The Chief Executive of the NPA, Mr Moses Asaga, outlined that what was needed was a de-sulphuriser for a hydro-treater that costs between US $120 to US$150 million.

“If they [TOR] get that money, it should not take them more than six to nine months to be able to install that unit,” he explained.

He further indicated that a national consensus was needed because “we all agree that a higher sulphur level is not good for our health, but what is the standard that Ghana can start with before we reach the final 10ppm?” adding: “What the NPA is saying is that let us give ourselves a range between the 500ppm to 50ppm and then to 10ppm.”

He said due to TOR’s challenges, they can only process up to 500ppm. For him, OMCs should be given adequate time to upgrade their systems to handle 50ppm and then to the lower preferred 10ppm.

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