Ghana has waived sulphur specifications on locally produced vehicle fuels to keep its refineries running.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) said the waiver is effective immediately and will continue until the end of 2024. As a result, local refineries can produce diesel and gasoline with sulfur levels not exceeding 1,500 ppm.
Imports, however, will continue to require a 50 ppm sulphur requirement.
The NPA said the rules fall under the ECOWAS directive to harmonize motor fuel specifications.
The waiver will ensure that "local refineries remain operational, while introducing measures to meet sulfur requirements" under ECOWAS rules.
Gas stations can sell these locally produced fuels. In addition, companies can blend these fuels with imported products, as long as they do not exceed the 1,500 ppm level.
The NPA stated that the waiver would not result in any price difference.
Dealers must be able to demonstrate, if the fuel has more than 50 ppm sulphur, that it was sourced from a local refinery. Otherwise, they will be fined.
Ghana currently has only one refinery, in Tema. However, it has drawn up plans for a new refining center, although this has proved somewhat controversial. The 45,000 bpd Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) is currently not operational and there have been discussions about replacing the plant.
Local reports have suggested that a Chinese group is working on the Sentuo oil refinery in the country, but there is little information available.
ECOWAS has set a target of reducing fuel supplies to 50 ppm across the region by 2025. However, it has continued to offer exemptions to local refiners.
The NPA suspended the fuel price stabilization and restoration tax in November 2021. It recently extended that decision until the end of January.