THE Department of Energy (DOE) has described as “impossible” the July 2015 deadline for oil companies to shift to selling clean fuel that meets the Euro 4 emission standard, a senior official said on Thursday.
Energy Undersecretary Zenaida Monsada said the decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to move the original January 2016 deadline posed problems because most of the oil companies will have to import Euro 4-compliant fuels.
“We had consultations with the oil companies because you will be advancing the implementation by six months. It is impossible for them to make Euro 4 available by July 1 nationwide,” Monsada told reporters.
DENR has issued an order to oil companies to stop selling Euro 2-standard fuels, which they have been marketing since 2008. Euro 4 refers to the European emission standard that requires fuel with lower amounts of sulfur and benzene.
Euro 4 requires the sulfur levels of diesel and gasoline at 0.005 percent or 50 parts per million (PPM). The Euro 2 level is 0.05 percent or 500 PPM and the benzene content of gasoline is only one percent under Euro 4 as against five percent under Euro 2.
Monsada, who is also the director of the DOE’s Oil Industry Management Bureau, said local refineries such as Petron and Pilipinas Shell are still upgrading their refineries and will be ready by January 1 of next year.
“The issue is: they need to dilute the Euro 4 fuel to the existing Euro 2 and that would take some time. Based on their schedule, Euro 4 will start coming in as early as the last quarter of the year and by January 1, 2016 almost all will be Euro 4 compliant,” she said.
Companies that will be importing Euro 4-compliant fuels have made arrangements with their suppliers for the January 2016 implementation, Monsada added.
“So they have to go back to their supplier to ask them if they can get some for the earlier implementation (of the circular),” she said.
She said they have urged oil companies to make Euro 4-compliant fuels available earlier than the January 1, 2016 original deadline for implementation.
“They are looking at the possibility [of making]Euro 4-compliant fuels initially available in key cities only,” she said.
Monsada said the government did not offer any incentive to companies that meet the deadline but the oil firms should show “they also have concern for the environment.”
Takashi Tomita, executive vice president of Isuzu Philippines Corp., said car companies also need at least two years to prepare their vehicles to comply with the Euro 4 emission standard.
“We can do it. But we need at least two years,” Tomita said during a round table meeting with the Manila Times.
He said the government did not consult car companies about the new deadline and the one-year lead time to make cars Euro 4-compliant is not enough.