ARDA Targets Single Fuel Grade in Africa by 2030 for Health, Environment

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

Worries about varied petroleum product grades in Africa and potential health concerns are about to see a shift. The African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) has made a commitment: by 2030, Africa will have a single grade of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol.

According to The Sun, this announcement was made by the Executive Secretary of ARDA, Mr. Anibor Kragha, at the “CEO Strategic Session 1: Market Outlook for Petrochemicals and Refineries of the Future” during the 24th World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Calgary, Canada.

In collaboration with the African Union, ARDA is rallying towards a unified African clean fuel standard, specifically, the Afri 6 or 10 parts per million (ppm) gas specification. Kragha illuminated the gravity of the current situation: “In Africa, there are 11 diesel grades, ranging from 10 ppm to 10,000 ppm, and 12 gasoline grades, ranging from 10ppm to 2,500 ppm. Our mission? A single 10ppm grade by 2030.”

Key to ARDA’s vision is the promotion of investments throughout the downstream value chain. Despite Africa’s neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Kragha emphasized the continent’s dedication to its energy security, including the utilization of African crude oil in local refineries and facilitating cleaner fuel distribution via integrated storage across Africa.

Highlighting the critical need for cleaner fuel options, Kragha mentioned the push towards Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cleaner cooking. He envisions a promising future for refining on the continent.

However, Africa’s limited refining capability, which significantly drains its foreign exchange due to the massive import of petroleum products, remains a concern. ARDA, Kragha stated, ardently backs increased investments in refining to ensure that Africa’s burgeoning demand for petroleum products is met with cleaner fuels.

“In just one example of our advocacy,” Kragha explained, “last week at the Angola Oil and Gas 2023 conference, ARDA accentuated integrating local players into Angola’s downstream sector. The goal here is ambitious: elevate Angola’s refining capacity from 65,000 BPD to 425,000 BPD by 2027.”

ARDA’s support extends to the revamp efforts of NNPC Limited’s refinery and Nigeria’s groundbreaking 650,000 BPD Dangote refinery, as well as projects by other ARDA members across the continent.

Kragha remains optimistic about the future of the African refining sector, given the continent’s booming energy demand coupled with significant population growth. He pointed out Africa’s minimal contribution to global cumulative CO2 emissions at just 2.73% (compared to EU’s 33% and North America’s 29%). Kragha emphasized that Africa merits a fair and targeted downstream energy transition plan focusing on cleaner fuels now and sustainable renewables later.

To achieve this, ARDA is meticulously crafting a decade-by-decade (from 2030 to 2050) African Downstream Energy Transition Plan. This roadmap aims to cater to the continent’s unique energy requirements while securing its energy future.

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