The African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARA) on Thursday confirmed its commitment to the 2020 clean fuel policy, which outlined a plan for vehicle emission controls and standards to achieve all the benefits of clean air quality.
Following a clean fuels workshop in Togo last week, the ARA set out recommendations as the industry worked towards meeting the AFRI-4 specifications by 2020.
These included the establishment of import quality improvement to AFRI-4 levels by 2020 or earlier, and the improvement of domestic specifications as soon as possible to be in line with current refinery production quality levels.
“[However,] where necessary, facing the reality of the 2020 objective, countries [should] consider a time-limited waiver allowing refineries to meet the clean fuel specification requirement at a later date where clear finance and action plans have been communicated,” the association said in a statement released on Thursday.
ARA further noted that, with the difficulty in raising the required funds for large capital investments, refineries must rigorously evaluate the financial return on such investments, the benefits of clean fuels on air quality and public health and the benefits of a refinery over a product import terminal as determined by the Wood MacKenzie study undertaken on behalf of the ARA in 2014.
“Seeing that many of the benefits of these investments mainly reside with the population at large rather than with the refinery shareholder, the ARA recommends that members seek support for these investments from all stakeholders including public, private, regional and government bodies,” it said.
The association further believed that consideration should be given to a combination of private and public financing or equity to finance the necessary investments and, where viable, the negotiation of prefinancing arrangements.
The ARA will continue to engage with regional bodies to promote the ARA clean fuel roadmap, the introduction of vehicle emission standards, an enforced vehicle inspection and maintenance programme to meet emission standards and the refinery improvements, and necessary investment.