India will join the select league of nations using petrol and diesel containing just 10 parts per million of sulfur as it looks to cut vehicular emissions that are said to be one of the reasons for the choking pollution in major cities.
Sanjiv Singh, Chairman of Indian Oil Corp (IOC) – the firm that controls roughly half of the country’s fuel market, said almost all refineries began producing ultra-low sulfur BS-VI (equivalent to Euro-VI grade) petrol and diesel by the end of 2019 and oil companies have now undertaken the tedious task of replacing every drop of fuel in the country with the new one.
“We are absolutely on track for supplying BS-VI fuel from April 1. Almost all refineries have begun supplying BS-VI fuel and the same has reached storage depots pan-India,” he said.
From storage depots, the fuel has started traveling to petrol pumps and in the next few weeks all of them will only have BS-VI grade petrol and diesel, he said. “We are 100 percent confident that fuel that will flow from nozzles at all the petrol pumps in the country on April 1 will be BS-VI emission compliant fuel.” India adopted Euro-III equivalent (or BS-III) fuel with a sulfur content of 350 ppm in 2010 and then took seven years to move to BS-IV that had a sulfur content of 50 ppm. From BS-IV to BS-VI it took just three years.
“It was a conscious decision to leapfrog to BS-VI as first upgrading to BS-V and then shifting to BS-VI would have prolonged the journey to 4 to 6 years. Besides, oil refineries, as well as automobile manufacturers, would have had to make investments twice – first to producing BS-V grade fuel and engines and then BS-VI ones,” he said.
PSU refineries spent about Rs 35,000 crore to upgrade plants that could produce ultra-low sulfur fuel. This investment is on top of Rs 60,000 crore they spent on refinery upgrades in the previous switchovers.