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Clean-fuel specs strain South African refiners

Uchenna Izundu
OGJ International Editor

LONDON, June 18 -- South African refiners will need to invest $4.95 billion by 2014 to comply with clean-fuel specifications, a senior Sasol SA official said earlier this month.

Sasol Executive Director Benny Mokaba said, “Refineries cannot afford to put in the equipment that is required. That's 40 billion rand that doesn't add an additional litre.”

Mokaba warned of a clash between the high costs of improving fuel standards and the growing focus on cleaner fuels technology in the country. He said it was important not to jeopardize economic growth.

South Africa’s fuel meets Euro 2 emission standards, but European countries have progressed to Euro 5 standards, which lower allowable emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Refiners have requested a 5-year delay to have sufficient time to deliver Euro 4 standards.

Speaking at the South African National Energy Association Action for Energy conference in Johannesburg, Mokaba said there could be shortfalls of domestically produced fuels and the need to increase imports.

“We may be environmentally right, but then harm our economy so badly that we find that even the benefits of the environment are reversed by the consequences,” Mokaba said.

Nelisiwa Magubane, deputy director-general at South Africa’s Department of Energy, said the government would seek greater stakeholder participation to implement its integrated energy plan.

She said integrated energy planning had formerly “fallen flat” for numerous reasons, one of which was enabling legislation.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at

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