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Voluntary sulphur level lowering welcomed

Thursday, 31 January 2002 Media Statement

Voluntary sulphur level lowering welcomed

Associate Energy Minister Paul Swain has welcomed voluntary steps by the oil industry to lower diesel sulphur levels.

“Last December, the government announced it would regulate the lowering of diesel sulphur levels in the Auckland/Northland region and in the rest of the country. These new regulations will take effect in August this year.

“I am pleased to report that BP, Caltex, Mobil, the New Zealand Refining Company, and Shell have agreed to implement these standards on a voluntary basis in advance of the regulations.

“We now have diesel being produced at the Marsden Point Oil Refinery for the Auckland and Northland markets with an average sulphur content of 1,000 ppm (parts per million) or less and with a maximum sulphur content of 1,400 ppm in any one batch. Diesel produced for the rest of the country has an average sulphur level of 2,200 ppm or less and a maximum level of 3,000 ppm.

“These sulphur levels represent a notable reduction over previous sulphur levels, which averaged 2,340 ppm.

“In the longer term, it is government’s intention to lower sulphur levels significantly for all consumers across New Zealand. New technology vehicles are increasingly becoming available that require ultra low, or less than 50 ppm, sulphur diesel. We are looking towards this step in 5 to 6 years’ time.

“I’d like to congratulate the industry for taking this more immediate move in the interest of the health of all New Zealanders,” Paul Swain said.

Diesel sulphur content is one of the specifications under consideration as part of the review of the Petroleum Products Specifications Regulations. The goal of the review is to ensure that New Zealanders can obtain good quality petrol and diesel that minimises impacts to public health and the environment.


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