February 27, 2018

11 Countries Move Up in Top 100 Ranking on Diesel Sulfur Limits

Stratas Advisors

This excerpt is from a report that is available to subscribers of Stratas Advisors’ Global Fuel Specifications service.

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Stratas Advisors’ annual Top 100 ranking again confirms the continued worldwide movement toward lower sulfur content in diesel and cites a number of countries that have positioned themselves through policy initiatives to make advances in this area in the near future. However, it is worthwhile to note that aspects other than sulfur reduction ― among them cetane, lubricity, polyaromatics, density and cold flow ― are important in determining diesel quality.

The last ranking was carried out in March 2017. EU countries, required to implement 100% market penetration of sulfur-free (less than 10 ppm) fuels since January 2009, continue to dominate the Top 40. Sweden, which led the way with full market penetration in 1990, continues to reign at No. 1.

11 countries moved up or were newly added to the 2018 ranking, compared to the seven countries in the 2017 ranking. Led by Suriname which ranks at 50th place with Belarus, the 11 countries include:

  • Bermuda
  • Bhutan
  • Curacao
  • Kazakhstan
  • Malawi
  • Mayotte
  • Mozambique
  • Suriname
  • Syria
  • Ukraine
  • Zimbabwe

Many of the other countries that dropped in the ranking (e.g. Brazil) did not alter their diesel fuel specifications but were simply passed by others that implemented stricter sulfur limits or supplied lower sulfur fuels ahead of legislation. Furthermore, five countries of Fiji, Lesotho, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Ecuador dropped out of the 2018 ranking and were replaced by Bermuda, Bhutan, Curacao, Suriname and Syria as they enter the Top 100 for the first time. This is due to new information found for them regarding the introduction of lower sulfur diesel during the period of 2009-2017, resulting in Bermuda and Curacao jumping the farthest by 100 places to jointly rank at 62nd place. They were followed by Suriname which jumped 92 places to share the same rank at 50th place with Belarus, and Syria which jumped 77 places to share the 68th place with French Polynesia.

Papua New Guinea sits at the last place (100th) with a maximum sulfur limit of 500 ppm which was in force since 2009 but voluntarily introduced since 2005, thus displacing other countries out of the Top 100 which set the same sulfur limit later than 2009. Even though cities and provinces are not officially ranked, it is worthwhile to note that select cities and provinces of Brazil, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico and Peru required diesel fuel with lower sulfur of 50 ppm or below ahead of the rest of the country.

The map below shows current maximum diesel sulfur limits worldwide, while the table below shows the Top 100 ranking.

Current Maximum On-Road Diesel Sulfur Limits


2018 Top 100 Diesel Sulfur Ranking


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