Nigeria and other African countries will need to spend about $15.7bn to upgrade their 36 refineries in order to produce cleaner fuel, the African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) has said.
The Executive Secretary of the ARDA, Anibor Kragha, while speaking at a workshop, said the fund would be needed for the refineries to be able to produce petroleum products that would conform to a planned level of sulphur content.
A statement issued on Thursday at the end of the programme stated that the $15.7bn would be used for the engineering, procurement and construction processes for the rehabilitation of the facilities.
The African Union and ARDA had planned an initiative called AFRI-6, which aimed at reducing sulphur content in fuels to 10 parts per million in the coming years.
He said, “Cleaner, harmonised, pan-African fuels specifications are required and there has been uneven progress in tightening fuel specifications across the continent.”
“Major urban population growth would result in increased pollution. So orderly, sustainable transition to cleaner fuels remained imperative to address potential public health issues.
“Targeted financing is needed for projects to upgrade refineries and infrastructure to produce and transport cleaner fuels.”
Kragha, while speaking on the theme, ‘Upgrading African refineries to produce cleaner fuels,’ explained that in the West and Central Africa region, which has 12 refineries, the countries would require $6.28 billion capital expenditure for refineries upgrade.
According to him, the North African region with 17 refineries will need $5.95 billion for the upgrade, while seven refineries in the East and Southern Africa region will need $3.42 billion.
Kragha said without urgent steps on adopting uniform fuel specifications across the continent, health and environmental challenges could worsen existing problems on the continent.
He explained that the African Union and ARDA were partnering on the adoption of AFRI Fuels Roadmap and had outlined new process units required to improve key fuel specifications.