April 18, 2022

Harmonization of Fuel Specifications in Africa Sees Slowdown in Implementation

Stratas Advisors

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In 2020-2021, Africa has seen a couple of countries take strong decisions in terms of reducing fuel sulfur levels or tightening emission standards such as Morocco and South Africa. The implementation of 10 ppm sulfur gasoline and the Euro 6 emission standard in January 2022 and the Euro 6b standard planned for new vehicles by January 2023 shows that Morocco wishes to closely follow the European standards, making Morocco the first major country to require 10 ppm sulfur fuels on the continent (after Mayotte, see map below). In addition, the decision to reduce sulfur levels to 10 ppm for South Africa from September 2023 has a direct impact on the sub-continent, as it exports fuel to neighboring landlocked countries such as Malawi and Zimbabwe. 

With the changes underway in other regions such as the Middle East, Africa is likely moving towards greater harmonization of fuel specifications and an increasing presence of low sulfur fuels. This is evident in Kenya’s lobbying within the EAC to move towards 10 ppm, although an implementation timeline is yet to confirmed. Thus, more than the work on legislative changes, the challenge will be to focus on quality control, which continues to be an issue even in the countries advanced in this area like Kenya.

Current Gasoline Sulfur Limits in Africa

Source: Stratas Advisors, April 2022

This report analyzes fuel quality developments which have occurred in Africa since the last Insight, Aug. 14, 2020. In addition to the spec changes that occurred since 2020, this report focuses on the ongoing changes and the observed harmonization of fuel sulfur reduction in some of the sub-regions of the continent, namely the:

  • East African Community (EAC);
  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); and
  • Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

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