African nations need to spend about $15.7bn on their refineries to curb emissions and meet climate-change targets as demand for oil and gas surges, an industry lobby group, African Refiners and Distributors Association, has said.
The Executive Secretary of ARDA, Anibor Kragha, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying governments on the continent should focus on reducing sulfur levels in petroleum products because Africa’s consumption of fossil fuels would rise quickly in the coming decades even as the supply of clean energy also expands.
The pan-African body, based in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital of Abidjan, promotes the interests of the downstream oil industry.
According to Bloomberg, Kragha said in an emailed response to questions that a ‘leapfrog’ switch by African nations from oil and gas directly to renewables was not realistic.
“Africa needs a unique energy transition roadmap,” he said.
ARDA’s immediate priority is facilitating Africa’s switch to cleaner petroleum products, according to Kragha.
The group is working with the African Union to introduce harmonised measures across the continent that cap sulfur volumes in gasoline and diesel to 10 parts per million by 2030.
This would bring it in line with existing limits in major economies including the US, the European Union, China and India.
He said the 15 governments of the Economic Community of West African States had already adopted an ARDA proposal to implement policies to phase out imported and manufactured fuels with more than 50 ppm.
Upgrading Africa’s refineries to meet the 10 ppm standard will cost about $15.7bn, according to Kragha, citing a study by the AU and ARDA.
According to him, the organisation is developing funding frameworks with financial institutions, commodity traders and other firms to assist members with the revamps.
ARDA is also promoting tighter restrictions on the age and quality of used vehicles that can be shipped to African countries and liquefied petroleum gas as an alternative cooking fuel to charcoal and firewood, Kragha said.
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