Introducing Low-Sulphur Fuel in East Africa

The CCAC has played an important role in moving East Africa toward cleaner diesel fuel that is lower in sulphur and closer to world standard.

Until recently, the diesel sulphur levels in this region ranged between 5,000 parts per million (ppm) and 10,000 ppm. Compare this to US and Europe standards of 10-15 ppm. In the past, the region relied on fuel supplies from a refinery in Kenya as well as from direct imports. The Kenyan refinery was commissioned in the early 1960s and had never been modernized, leading to production inefficiencies. This led to the Kenyan refinery supplying only about 50% of Kenya’s fuel needs and the region increasingly relying on import of finished products.

The region then had an opportunity to move quickly to cleaner, low sulphur diesel, at least for imported products. In 2011, through UNEP support, the region lowered the amount of sulphur allowed in diesel fuel from 5,000 ppm to 500 ppm. However, Kenya continued to market two grades of fuel, imported fuel at 500 ppm and the refinery output at an average of 7,500 ppm. Talks of refinery modernization gained urgency.

In March 2013, the CCAC, through its “Reducing Black Carbon Emissions from Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicles and Engines” initiative, approved USD275,000 to support the region in further lowering diesel sulphur levels to 50 ppm. This low sulphur fuel is needed for the buses being procured to operate along the new Bus Rapid Transit system in Dar es Salaam as well as to support the efficient functioning of cleaner vehicle technologies in the region. Similar bus systems are proposed in Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda.

In June 2013, a Ministerial decision to adopt low sulphur harmonized standards was approved. In September, the Kenyan refinery was closed. In November, a sub-regional workshop (see http://www.unep.org/Transport/PCFV/regions/EA_lowsulphur.asp) to discuss the legislation of the harmonized standards and follow-up action in each of the five East African countries was held. In December, these regionally harmonized standards were enacted, and the first national workshop to discuss their implementation was held in Uganda. Other national activities on the operationalization of these standards at country level are planned in March-June 2014. The 50 parts per million sulphur fuels standards will become effective by 1 January 2015.

The CCAC is now visiting each East African country to help them to adopt legislation and develop their national standards. When the process is completed, the East Africa region will be the first region outside Europe to move as a block to low sulphur fuel standards.

CCAC Mid-term Review Survey

Since its launch with six country partners and UNEP in 2012, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) has grown rapidly to now encompass 46 state partners and 54 non-state partners by January 2015. In order to help formulating a common vision and strategy to scale up actions locally and globally the Coalition is undertaking a small-scale midterm review between January and April 2015. The results of the review will inform the development of the five-year strategic plan for the Coalition, 2016-2020.

Included in the methodology of this mid-term review is an online survey addressed to all Coalition Partners, CCAC actors, initiative implementers and other stakeholders outside the Coalition. The survey is open until 5 FEBRUARY 2015, and all answers are anonymous.

We welcome you to take the next few minutes to submit your answers by clicking on any of the links to the right. You may take the survey in either English or French.