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Exposed: Niger Delta petrol quality better than the one Nigeria imports from Europe

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In a new laboratory analysis, it was discovered that the quality of the oil in the Niger Delta is not as dangerous to the environment as the oil Nigeria imports from Europe. The oil was found to be highly toxic.

All the major oil companies that operate in Nigeria export an average of 2m barrels of oil a day which is of high quality and from the Niger Delta. But only a small amount is actually refined in Nigeria due to the epileptic condition of the country’s refineries.

International dealers export to Nigeria an average of 900,000 tonnes a year of low-grade fuel, produced in Dutch, and other European refineries, and hundreds of small-scale artisanal refineries produce large quantities of illegal fuel from oil stolen from the network of oil pipelines that criss-cross the Niger delta.

According to Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), Nigeria has one of the worst air pollution in the entire world. This pollution has taken a toll on the health conditions of its citizens, and to add to the already deplorable conditions the health system practically non functional.

The level of toxicity of the oil imported from Europe has startled researchers who took samples of diesel sold in government-licensed filling stations in Port Harcourt and Lagos. The researchers discovered that on the average the fuel exceeded EU pollution limits by as high as 204 times, and 43 times the level for gasoline.

The Lab analysis also showed that the black market fuel was highly polluting but of a higher quality than the imported diesel and gasoline. The average “unofficial” diesel tested was beyond the level of EU sulphur standards by 152 times, and 40 times the level for gasoline.

“Our research suggests that Nigeria is having dirty fuel dumped on it that cannot be sold to other countries with higher and better implemented standards. The situation is so bad that the average diesels sampled are of an even lower quality that that produced by artisanal refining camps in the creeks of the Niger delta,” Florence Kayemba, SDN programme manager said.

Nigeria with over 11m, of its population being elderly, and the country that imports cars from Europe and Japan on the roads, and generator usage running into hundreds of thousands for electricity as power supply is epileptic. All of this dire factors have made Nigeria rank fourth in the world for deaths caused by air pollution. It is estimated that 114,000 people die prematurely from air pollution each year.

The air quality in Nigeria’s cities such as Port Harcourt, Aba, Onitsha and Kaduna has reached crisis levels of pollution in recent years, and there is surplus evidence of a rise in respiratory diseases in the country like asthma, lung, heart and respiratory diseases.

Over half of developing countries, particularly in Africa and Latin America, still use high-sulphur fuels which have long been illegal to burn in western countries. In Nigeria the practice is maintained by an murky fuel subsidy system that keeps prices relatively low at the pumps, but is widely thought to fuel corruption. Refineries in Europe are allowed to make the fuel if countries agree to accept it.

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