““African Quality” is the industry term for fuels that are destined for African markets. They are characterised primarily by their high sulphur content, though the term also refers to fuels with other low-quality aspects such as a high olefinic or aromatic content. In short, this definition of African Quality matches the type of fuels that we found at petrol stations owned by Swiss trading companies in Africa” (Public Eye, P: 100, 2016).
There are viciousness and malice attempts all over the globe, there warlords killing for selling luxurious minerals and keeping resources in their hands to sell to get ammunition. Then there are not as vicious as them, but still worth condoning; the ones that knows that they are selling an off-brand product that they are not allowed elsewhere, but selling “African Quality”, low-level gasoline with blended high toxic and filled with metals, with levels higher than sulphur, PAHs and other chemicals that can be dangerous at certain extent.
Switzerland are a prosperous and business companies that are profitable abroad, like the ones mentioned in the report of Public Eye, that shows to what extent they go to earn fortunes. As they uses both connections to various regimes; they are using connections in Netherlands to blend and mix diesel and gasoline to the African market. That would be fine if it wasn’t an inferior product, but we’re a product that could be following standards of the same quality sold in Denmark or United Kingdom, instead it filled dangerous toxins and metals that can make the air-quality lower and make the car quickly destroyed. These acts should not go unnoticed.
Mixing and making cheap Gasoline in Abidjan, Ivory Coast:
“How was this waste produced? Every month for 16 months, between January 2006 and April 2007, Trafigura bought batches of coker naphtha created at a Mexican refinery, with the intention of turning them into blendstocks for gasoline. This coker naphtha is one of the lowest qualities of gasoline blendstocks and it is created during oil refining from the “bottom of the barrel”. It has two specificities: first, it contains very high levels of toxic substances, namely sulphur and mercaptan sulphur, and second, as a direct consequence, it is very cheap. In other words, it is an opportunity for (almost) any creative trader. “As cheap as anyone can imagine”. James McNicol, a trader from Trafigura, wrote in an email to his colleagues in December 2005, “[this] should make serious dollars”. Trafigura’s sole motivation for experimenting with the production process was profit. Company executives had estimated that buying and selling the coker naphtha would generate profit to the tune of US$7 million per cargo. But before “making serious dollars”, Trafigura had to convert the product into a suitable ingredient for African gasoline: it had to find a way to lower drastically the mercaptan sulphur content, otherwise its odour would be unbearably strong” (Public Eye, P: 17, 2016).
Abidjan – Minton Report on African Quality gasoline:
“Based on the Minton report and an internal Trafigura document we conclude that the total sulphur still in the washed naphtha was between 608 and 680 tons – equaling between 7,156 and 8,000 ppm. The Minton report noted that “the process had achieved a 47 percent reduction of the mercaptans [in the sense of transforming into other Sulphur components] and that some ended up in the aqueous waste phase and some in the oily product, but that the conversion rate was not known.“ An internal Trafigura memorandum dated 23rd September 2006 summarizes in paragraphs 1–3 how much coker naphtha was unloaded to the Probo Koala by three different vessels and the mercaptan Sulphur content of it before and after the washings: (1) 11 April 2006 M/T Seapurha: 28,829 mt, mercaptan sulphur level of 1,700 ppm and after washings 950 ppm. (2) 19 May 2006 M/T Moselle: 28,130 mt, mercaptan sulphur level of 2,014 ppm and after washings 950 ppm. (3) 18 June 2006 M/T Seavinha 28,284 mt, mercaptan sulphur level of 1,700 ppm and after washings 950 ppm. We can make an even more precise estimation: Based on Trafigura’s reply to the BBC that gives a summary of the composition of the waste as estimated by the claimants in a group litigation case – and based on analysis of the Netherlands Forensic Institute – the total sulphur content of the waste dumped in Abidjan was around 66 tons” (Public Eye, P: 149, 2016).
“In 2015, Trafigura had revenues of US$ 14.4 billion from Africa, making the continent its second largest market after Europe. Its competitor, Vitol, also operates widely on the continent. Thought to be the world’s largest commodity trader, Vitol might be expected to give some information about its activities if only in the public interest, but the company does not disclose its annual results. Many other Swiss companies also supply fuels to Africa” (Public Eye, P: 30, 2016).
Using Oil Deposits to blend into African Quality:
“Oil depots offer the opportunity to blend petroleum products according to the fuel quality required by the country (see chapters 9 and 10). With that respect, an advisor close to the BP-Puma transaction assumed Puma Energy was, among other reasons, buying petrol stations in order “to sell surplus of dirty products in Africa.” He was not the only one. A market analyst from Petroleum Intelligence Weekly also mentioned the “compromise” in fuel quality that could occur with the arrival of the traders.13 Weak regulation on fuel quality standards (particularly for sulphur) is a crucial factor in any analysis of the economic potential of petrol stations in Africa. As we show below, many high sulphur, low-quality intermediate products are available that can be blended into “African Quality” diesel and gasoline. Playing with qualities is a lucrative strategy and nothing else than a form of regulatory arbitrage” (Public Eye, P: 31, 2016).
Republic of Congo demand of Petroleum:
“Congo’s demand for petroleum products is satisfied by two sources. The first source is the state-owned refinery, Coraf, which is run by the President’s son Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, nicknamed “Kiki”. This refinery gets its oil from the State and provides diesel and gasoline to the local market. Coraf’s dodgy deals with a Swiss front company, Philia, have been the subject of a previous report by Public Eye” (…) “Tacoma and its Congolese subsidiary X-Oil have both been paying “consulting fees” to an offshore shell company belonging to Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, the Congolese President’s son and head of trading operations at SNPC, according to a 2006 Hong Kong court judgment.32 The shell company, Long Beach Limited (Anguilla), was part of a broader scheme set up by Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso to syphon off part of Congo’s oil wealth to private coffers, in collusion with Denis Gokana’s AOGC” (Public Eye, P: 43, 2016).
Difference between Europe and African levels of PAHs:
“So the actual gap between the African and European samples is even wider. Indeed, a study showed that the level of PAHs contained in diesel sold in Germany had an average of 2.73 percent of mass in 2013. So Vitol’s diesel, as sold in Senegal, has more than five times more PAHs than the diesel sold in Germany. Worldwide, the average of PAH in diesel is estimated to be 3.7 percent of mass, according to CONCAWE. This is certainly lower than what we found in Africa. Only two of our samples, found at Oryx in Zambia and Trafigura in Côte d’Ivoire, are lower than the global mean” (…) “The reason why African diesel fuels have high aromatic and polyaromatic content can easily be explained: almost no sub-Saharan African country regulates them. And so the trading companies who import these fuels are tempted to use cheaper, lower quality, high aromatic blendstocks for diesel in the African markets. This tactic might have commercial advantages, but for the people and for the environment where these fuels are sold, this “blend-dumping” is a very unhealthy practice” (Public Eye, P: 55, 2016).
Difference between Europe and African levels of sulphur:
“But if we compare the average sulphur levels in European gasoline (7 ppm) with the highest sulphur sample of gasoline from a station in Ghana belonging to UBI, a subsidiary of Puma Energy, then that discrepancy increases to a factor of 103. More generally, we found the highest levels of sulphur in Ghana and Mali. In Ghana, we found between 275 and 718 ppm sulphur in the four gasoline samples. This is within the legal limit, but the limit itself is very high (1,000 ppm), one hundred times higher than the European legal limit. Many of our samples show much higher sulphur contents than what refineries in West Africa often produce. The Tema refinery in Ghana produces an average 127 ppm gasoline” (Public Eye, P: 56, 2016).
Swiss trading in Ghana:
“In 2014, 4 of the 8 deliveries from Swiss trading companies fluctuated between 2,800 ppm and 3,200 ppm, highlighting a possible strategy to stick as close as possible to the legal limit. That same year, both Vitol and Trafigura delivered diesel with sulphur content so high that the product could not be sold at the pump. The product would have been further blended in the depot to lower its sulphur level, unless it ended up being sold off-spec (i.e. illegally) to consumers. Asked to comment about those of their cargoes containing higher sulphur content than allowed at the pump, Trafigura declined to do so while Vitol specified that it “does not comment on specific cargoes as a matter of policy.” (Public Eye, P: 75, 2016). “While the subsidies drained the public treasury, the BDCs benefited from them systemically delivering lower quality products than planned (<1,000 ppm). Indeed, our findings revealed sulphur levels in diesel that were on average much higher than 1,000 ppm both at the moment of import and at the pump. The price calculated by the government to subsidise the importers therefore didn’t correspond with the quality of products imported. In a totally legal manner, as they were respecting Ghana’s national standards, the importers profited from a system to the detriment of the government (public finances) and the consumers, not to mention Ghanaian health” (Public Eye, P: 79, 2016).
Money before People:
“Simply put, Swiss commodity trading companies put profits before anything else, even before the health of the population, while claiming, as Vivo does for instance in Côte d’Ivoire, that “it uses all the means and tools necessary to ensure the latest international standards of quality […] so that Ivorian consumers benefit from what is best in terms of fuel when going to a Shell petrol stations”. Our findings contravene these glossy CSR-statements. In a corporate video, Trafigura says that “Across Africa and other developing regions, our supply of affordable high-quality fuel products empowers local businesses.” Vivo Energy is the same, saying that “Our commitment to achieving and maintaining the highest international Health, Safety, Security and the Environment (HSSE) standards is at the heart of our business and is a key differentiator (…) in Africa.” Not to repeat a similar promise made by Oryx Energies, that “Our commitment (…) for Africa means that we take every precaution to minimise the potential impact our products and services may have on the environment.” Commenting on Oryx’s development in Mali, the chairman of the group, Jean Claude Gandur said: “This enables us to supply high-quality fuels (…) to an increasing number of clients.” The reality is quite different. Just to take Mali as an example, Oryx’s diesel in the land-locked country was the worst we found among 25 samples collected in 8 countries, with 380 times more sulphur than allowed by the European limit” (Public Eye, P: 126 , 2016).
We can easily see how the Swiss Corporations are earning fortunes on selling lower-quality petroleum to the African market as their loose regulation and easy market are acceptable for the degraded gasoline. This indicates how the European Corporation are doing what they can to earn monies on dangerous products that would not accept on their own shores. It’s disgraceful how these “African quality” gasoline and diesel are sold in different nations around on the African Continent.
It is not only bad for the cars and for the engines. It is harmful to the environment and the people who inhale the toxins and chemicals blends that come after the use of the gasoline. This pollution is man-made toxic blend that creates more harm than good. Still, it’s a legal product and allowed to sell without any questions. As the Governments are giving way to the Oil Companies and Holding Companies that are selling these there. This should not be acceptable.
Here is just one some samples of the bad business practices, there might be even more and worse than what the Public Eye found and what other companies do on the continent. To what extent they go to earn profits without consequences. This here proves the ability these companies have to be hazardous and be rough with nature and humanity while earning high profits on low-quality products. This should be sanctioned and stopped if it matter’s what people are inhaling and the damage it does to our bodies, secondly what these toxins do to our nature and surroundings as it might be in our food, waters and pollute our air. Certainly the initial findings prove the toxins and the ways of blending are reasons for itself to stop the manufacturing process of making it in general. Especially knowing how much better by just doing it proper and follow guidelines of European laws on gasoline and diesel would harm the environment less. The people should also not get polluted and get toxins because the corporations sell them a disgraceful product.
Last remark, when some of this by blending on ships or at facilities that produce already the European Standard gasoline or diesel, it is insulting that on the same refinery that they create worse product’s to sell leftovers to a continent; because they can and will to make as much profit as they can. This is our world and it’s not ideal, therefore we have to put a lid on it so it can change! Peace.
Public Eye – ‘Dirty Diesel – How Swiss Traders Flood Africa with Toxic Fuels’ (September 2016, Ghana)
Oslo, 13th April 2016.
Dear His Excellency President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma!
I hope you are okay, not really though, but the human parts of me does. As I know you eaten for long while and is far from starving. I am not somebody you or your loyal cronies in the African National Congress listen to, as I am the man you had hired to wash your Amphitheatre or clean away the grass there or painting part some of the walls that need a fresh paint at Nkandla village. I am sure you would hire me to clean your fire-pool. So I understand if you will not listen to my reason, but I hope somebody does.
I know that you have gotten rid of the people who also wanted access to power, as you have done with Julius Malema as he was young and vibrant, while you we’re busy getting married and getting new children with the new wives. That is why you have a village in Nkandla. You have so many house and private clinic there for your service. You even swallowed Thabo Mbeki the intellectual, who muffled his career and said yes to let the finally ANC eat, and eat heavy. As you have done for a while now, maybe time to let go of the plate? The gig is up?
President Zuma you we’re able to get rid of Mbeki and make is legacy be mixed up in a bad-deal and PR for supervision of Zimbabwe and their Government of National Unity (GNU) where President Mugabe (ZANU-PF) still where the Executive, why the winner of the election became his deputy Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T). That helped to tarnish the powers of Mbeki and make you rise as the deputy of Mbeki to block his place as the executive of South Africa. The way you did it was to sell the “the Arms-Deal” to Mbeki, and let him swallow the scandal.
You have always used reason to get away from scandals, corruption cases and maladministration of government funds and procedures. You have always stead steady with the allegation and able to deflect it. The share amount of cases and the times you’re named in curious cases is staggering for an Executive of a Nation. If you we’re a famer I would expect you to act respectfully to your animals and use your dirt to produce quality food. But you happen to be the Executive, the President and His Excellency! With those titles comes the certainties of honourable acts that are expect, not only by your constituency, but also by the rules and laws of Parliament, as well as the famous guideline of the nation, a constitution.
As you know the Constitution set precedence for you role and position Honourable Jacob G. Zuma. You have certain abilities and opportunity with that position, but at the same time; which is hard for you to see the extent of that power.
The Nkandla is a promising corrupt case and all, but you have not honoured the power you have had; Honourable Zuma you should have emulated late President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Cote d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast in 1983, the honourable Houphouët-Boigny moved the Capital of the Country to his village Yamoussoukro from the well-known town of Abidjan and build a majestic town out it. By two years even LA Times said there was more traffic-lights then people in Yamoussoukro. You might have built a village in Kwa-Zulu Natal for yourself, but in the prospect of other rulers of recent times. So when you first were corrupted you could have staged something more out of it.
You have already displaced arrogance towards the rest of the Parliament or the National Assembly. As you have over a few years deflected this case, as you also does not discuss the matter of how you got rid of Mbeki. Even if you proclaimed near the end of his last tenure that you we’re his man. Something you we’re not.
Other than Nkandla, you have spoils with the Gupta Family and their involvement into politics. As there been said and asked for covering if the Gupta family and their Oakbay Resources and Energy; especially when we can consider the sudden axing of Nene Nhanhla as Finance Minister, while David Van Rooyen had the position for three days or so, before a third Minister Pravin Gordhan was the excellent choice. All happen under two-weeks in December 2015, and made the already fragile markets react and also suspect business from the government and executive into lights.
As the questions for a Private Jet for the Executive for 4bn Rand in November 2015, that Minister Nhanhla would not accept. Some says that the reason for his axing, what do you say Honourable Zuma? Or was the Gupta’s behind it all?
There should also be worrying for a President, at this day and age: to have over 500,000 searches on google for you if you type “Zuma Corruption”. That is worrying isn’t it honourable Zuma?
Though I am sure you will deflect it all, it is a western paradigm and that you should not be in court as you deserve the same honour as Richard Nixon in his time. Well, Nixon didn’t build a village for himself with tax-money, didn’t have shady business connections with Gupta investors, Swaziland connections and so on. You have treated the Executive Position to earn money and eat for yourself.
Your legacy will not be how you established ANC as more as liberation movement, but a fully-fledged political party. Instead like so many liberation movements, you have started to eat and forgotten why they fought against the oppression. So as you can now payback the monies used for “Security Upgrades” of Nkandla homestead. While you might gotten enough votes in the National Assembly as the ANC members of Parliament is loyal to you and not the Constitution apparently. But I am the guy who you hire to paint your walls at Nkandla, so I don’t expect you ever to listen or read my words. I am a pundit and nobody. As I presume my existence in the shadow, let it be certain, if you even survive your career as the Executive while sophisticated stealing of government funds. You still will not leave a legacy and the name Zuma will not be standing in for-front of well-renowned character those parents wants to teach their kids to emulate.
Why I say this is because the amount of scandals, the way you brought yourself to power through the ANC and the way you have used the government organizations to access wealth. Creating networks for your own gain and not the general public as you’re supposed to as an Executive. Also by facilitate and use all courts and time of the state in your name.
I got to recommendations to you, though I know you only listen to Court judgements or verdicts, as this is merely a suggestion to what you could do now. And with that in mind, I know you won’t listen to any of the advice. As they are suggestions and not something you should follow as the constitution, but hey; parts of that you don’t follow either. Let’s skip that and give you the advice.
Here are my two recommendations to you:
First: You should have followed the EFF and DA motion and stepped down, resigned and leave with valour of honour, as possible to give space to your party to sort itself out after the debacle with the Nkandla and Gupta connection you have. As the Con-Court set standards for you and that you did not listen to Public Protectorate considering the case.
Second: Following President Houphouët-Boigny of Ivory Coast, continue to build Nkandla into a magnificent city with more streetlights then people in Nkandla, Kwa-Zulu Natal. So if you’re really corrupted Honourable then ever President Zuma you should make the home and town more extravagant. Extravagant for Nkandla in the sense send in a motion to the National Assembly to move the Capital from Pretoria to Nkandla; as a gift to the proud folks of Kwa-Zulu Natal. So you can prove the value of the constituency you reside. Be a truly African President that South Africa ever has had. So quit that meagre estimated building of Nkandla Village Project and secure that instead becomes Nkandla Metropolitan City Project. So the ANC big project before next election will be to make Nkandla a City and trading centre, not just a hangout place for the wives, kids and grand-children of the Executive.
Honourable President Zuma, as I expect you not to ever read it or the loyal cronies in the inner circle of the ANC. But it should be put into consideration as the expected ANC Stalwarts and ANC Veterans who has spoken against the presidency and the Executive asked politely to step down. So I am sure the ANC Party and ANC Organization listen more to them then to me. An you should listen to them, because their vocal about their grievances together with Civil Society Organizations, Churches and Opposition Parties feels about the codes of conduct and justice of your part in the National Assembly and continuing to be their Executive. Peace.
The Writer of the blog MinBane.