Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. (FP)
Barbados is the first island in the Caribbean to officially move from High Sulfur Diesel (5,000 ppm) to Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD 15 ppm).
The Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) provided technical advice on cleaner fuels to the Environmental Protection Department of Barbados to assist in the decision making process for cleaner fuel standards and the move to ULSD.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Division of Energy and Telecommunications in the Prime Minister's Office, Jehu Wiltshire, confirmed that the Division of Energy and the Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL) have been working together to make the transition as smooth as possible. The Acting Permanent Secretary said that a decision was taken not to move from High Sulfur Diesel to Low Sulfur Diesel because it would not be feasible in the long run. "We would have initially agreed on the procurement of Low Sulfur Diesel, but the fact that the market is going quickly towards the use of Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel, we realized the best decision would be to go for the Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel instead of Low Sulfur Diesel".
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart described this as a "great step forward for Barbados". He said: "In whatever area of national life we operate we need a sound and healthy environment and this initiative is intended to achieve that objective."
Acknowledging that Barbados had committed itself to being the most advanced green economy in the region and in the Americas, the Prime Minister stressed that the use of High Sulfur Diesel was inconsistent with Government's objective of creating a sound environment.
The Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel was on the market from December 2013 and Mr. Stuart said that if Government had yielded to the suggestion of experimenting with the low and high sulfur diesels, then the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited would have had to embark on massive expenditure to accommodate the exercise. "We did not think that any two diesel options made sense because of the retrofitting that would have had to take place at the National Terminal and at service stations. We are confident that all of the necessary precautions have been taken to guarantee a smooth transition from High Sulfur to Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel," he stated.
Standard diesel carries a maximum sulfur content of 5,000 parts per million, while ultra-low sulfur diesel carries a maximum content of 15 parts per million. Many vehicles and engines are now manufactured to operate more efficiently with ultra-low sulfur fuels.