At the recent World Petroleum Congress held in Calgary, Canada, Anibor Kragha, the Executive Secretary of the African Refiners and Distributors (ARDA), shared an ambitious vision for the future of fuel in Africa. Kragha emphasized the need for all African refiners to transition to a single petrol (gasoline) grade by the year 2030.
ARDA is actively working towards the adoption of a harmonized pan-African clean petrol specification, with a particular focus on achieving an Afri 6 or 10 ppm (parts per million) specification for fuel across the continent. Currently, Africa has a staggering 11 different grades of diesel or gas oil, ranging from 10 ppm to 10,000 ppm, and 12 different grades of gasoline (petrol), from 10 ppm to 2,500 ppm. The goal is to consolidate these into a single 10 ppm grade by 2030, simplifying the landscape of fuel standards across Africa.
One of ARDA’s core objectives is to encourage investments across the downstream value chain, enhancing Africa’s energy security. This involves optimizing the utilization of African crude oil in local refineries and establishing an integrated storage and distribution network for cleaner fuels throughout the continent.
Kragha also addressed the issue of Africa’s limited refining capacity, which has resulted in significant foreign exchange expenditures on petroleum product imports. ARDA is dedicated to promoting and facilitating investments in refining capacity across Africa to meet the growing demand for petroleum products with cleaner alternatives, ultimately alleviating the foreign exchange burden.
The future looks promising for the African refining and petrochemicals sector, driven by a projected surge in energy demand and population growth on the continent. ARDA has been advocating for the implementation of AFRI 6 petrol specifications since 2020. Their roadmap includes the adoption of standardized AFRI 5 specifications (50 ppm sulfur for petrol and diesel) by 2025, and even cleaner AFRI 6 specifications (10 ppm) by 2030. These initiatives aim to reduce the importation of non-compliant fuels into Africa and provide refineries with ample time to upgrade their facilities.
It’s worth noting that the Federal Government of Nigeria has plans for the revival of refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna between 2023 and 2024. Additionally, the highly anticipated Dangote refinery is set to start refining diesel and aviation fuel in October 2023, with petrol production slated for November 2023. These developments mark significant steps towards Africa’s cleaner energy future.