News item | 14-11-2023 | 9:00 am
Fuels from the Netherlands to West Africa must meet strict requirements to prevent excessive air pollution. The Living Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) noticed 5 years ago that fuel with high levels of harmful substances was being exported. Last year, the ILT introduced a policy rule to set requirements for the levels of benzene, sulfur and manganese in exported road fuels. The inspectorate has now established that the policy rule is being complied with in the Netherlands.
“We see that unhealthy fuel is no longer exported from the Netherlands to West Africa,” says Marietta Harjono, who conducts research at the ILT into the quality of fuel exports to low- and middle-income countries. “This has a positive effect on people and the environment in those countries. Together with Belgium, the Netherlands is the largest producer and exporter of road fuels in West African countries. More than half of all petrol imported into West Africa comes from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp.”
Harjono: “In August 2022, we introduced a measure to prevent fuel containing too much sulphur, benzene and manganese from being exported. Since then, we have closely monitored compliance by Dutch oil companies and traders. We see that the measure has a major impact. Since the end of May 2023, companies operating from the Netherlands have been complying with the policy rule. The levels of sulphur, benzene and manganese have decreased significantly.
Export petrol from the Netherlands and Belgium since 2016
|Netherlands to world||Netherlands to West Africa||Belgium to the world||Belgium to West Africa|
|April’16 – Oct’16||68.19||18.62||22.2||13,14|
|Oct’16 – Apr’17||68.43||14.37||19.43||12.94|
|April’17 – Oct’17||60.92||14.62||21.18||9.17|
|Oct’17 – Apr’18||71.95||22.09||18.67||13.07|
|April’18 – Oct’18||74.31||20.29||23.44||13.48|
|Oct’18 – Apr’19||75.09||22.08||20.36||15,17|
|April’19 – Oct’19||82.08||21.83||28.99||16.55|
|Oct’19 – Apr’20||74.3||25.04||26.57||18.81|
|April’20 – Oct’20||54.34||14.45||27.01||11.05|
|Oct’20 – Apr’21||70.81||23.72||32.38||18.33|
|April’21 – Oct’21||75.79||21.9||41.77||18.38|
|Oct’21 – Apr’22||60.78||25.83||45.02||28.14|
|April’22 – Oct’22||81.18||24.76||41.7||23.43|
|Oct’22 – Apr’23||61.01||24.22||43.94||25.31|
|April’23 – Oct’23||58.34||7.82||38.91||18.25|
Graph compiled by the ILT based on analysis data from Vortexa
Source table as csv (736 bytes)
Shifts in the fuel export market
The ILT sees that there are shifts in the fuel market for both diesel and petrol. The Russian attack on Ukraine has created a shortage in the European diesel market, causing diesel exports from European countries to countries outside Europe to decline sharply from 2022.
The export of petrol from the Netherlands to West African countries has fallen sharply in the past six months. This is partly due to the ILT’s policy rule, but also because Nigeria abolished the petrol subsidy scheme, which reduced domestic demand for petrol in that country and surrounding countries.
The ILT does see that the total export of petrol from the Netherlands has remained reasonably stable after the tightening of the Policy Rule. The decrease from the Netherlands to West Africa has been partly compensated by an increase in exports from the Netherlands of cleaner quality gasoline to other regions of the world.
Export petrol Belgium
Gasoline exports to West Africa from Belgium also decreased in the past six months, but less sharply than that of the Netherlands. Harjono: “This indicates that production of petrol in the Netherlands for the West African market has been moved to Belgium. Belgium recently announced that it wants to implement similar measures as the Netherlands. That is good news. This will contribute to an international level playing field.”
Inspection continues to monitor compliance
The ILT continues to closely monitor the compliance of Dutch companies. In the event of a violation, the ILT can, for example, impose an order subject to penalty. It also informs the Public Prosecution Service of serious violations in accordance with the National Enforcement Strategy (LHS). If it appears that companies are trying to avoid the policy rule by exporting the production of low-quality fuels from other countries or mixing them at sea, the ILT will take action against violations or inform the supervisory authorities in these countries about this.
In addition to the oil sector itself, the ILT has also informed Dutch and foreign banks with customers such as oil companies and traders about the policy rule. As part of their anti-money laundering policy, banks must ensure that they do not finance activities that conflict with regulations. Some banks are now actively paying attention to this.