By: Pius Amihere Eduku, citibusinessnews.com
The United Nations Environment Programme, (UNEP), has ruled out possible job losses in an attempt to reconfigure national refineries to meet acceptable standards for sulphur contents for diesel.
According to UNEP, adjusting refinery systems to produce quality diesel will rather increase efficiency and create more jobs.
“A lot of times when the refineries are upgrading, they are actually able to produce more products better products and maybe create more jobs so there will be no jobs that will be lost. If the refineries were closed, that’s when we would be talking about job losses,” the Programme Officer for the Transport Unit of UNEP, Jane Akumu told Citi Business News.
A recent publication by Swiss NGO, Public Eye, revealed that the lives of consumers of diesel in eight African countries including Ghana, were at risk over the high sulphur contents.
According to the survey, while Europe accepts about 10 ppm for sulphur in diesels, the lax in standards in some African countries have led to as much as 300 times sulphur content in imported diesel.
The NPA was subsequently compelled to review downwards the national specification from 3000 ppm to between 500 and 10 ppm.
Though the CEO of NPA, Moses Asaga had indicated a complete reduction to about 10ppm by the Tema Oil refinery will lead to massive job losses, the Programme Officer for the Transport Unit of UNEP, Jane Akumu rather believes it will be more prudent to consider the long term benefits.
“Refinery upgrade is going to cost a lot of money; so the companies need to come up with that kind of funding but the products will actually even be more that will be produced by the refineries,” she stated.
Madam Akumu who formerly worked with Kenya’s national oil refinery also cautioned that other countries will have no other option to shut down their refineries if they fail to implement strategies to upgrade their respective refineries.
“But one thing I always caution countries is that if they fail to upgrade their refineries, then they will be forced to shut them down because the world is moving to better fuels….this was the situation that forced Kenya to shut down its refinery as was experienced in Kenya after twenty years of calls for an upgrade of the country’s refinery,” Madam Akumu added.