THE EDITOR, Sir:
In response to a letter to the editor dated Friday, January 25, 2013, titled 'Sue Petrojam for Poor quality fuel', Petrojam Limited wishes to inform that the company supplies fuels manufactured to the dictates of the Jamaican law, as specified in the Petroleum Quality Control Act.
Contrary to assertions made by Mr Hugh Sandford in his letter, Petrojam has not "unleashed" poor-quality fuels on unsuspecting owners of diesel-powered vehicles.
All products provided by Petrojam are in compliance with the specifications prescribed by order, by the Government of Jamaica (minister with oversight for energy) on the recommendation of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.
In addition, all products provided by Petrojam undergo rigorous testing to ensure optimal quality and compliance with specifications. At present, the prescribed maximum sulphur content in diesel is 5,000 parts per million.
We are aware of the moves internationally to increase vehicle emissions standards and, by extension, reduce sulphur emissions. Countries that have switched to low-sulphur diesel have typically done so over a period of time, with a great degree of collaboration between industry players - the environmentalists, refiners, automakers, and other significant end-user groups. This is concurrent with adopting cleaner vehicle requirements.
At Petrojam, plans are afoot to import ultra low-sulphur diesel (ULSD) to satisfy market demand for the lower grades of diesel. This importation is necessary until the refinery is upgraded and is then equipped with the capacity to manufacture this product.
It must be noted that when introduced into Jamaica, the ULSD will be provided concurrently with the current grade of diesel supplied to the market, to allow a choice of fuel grade and price to the end-user, based on the specific needs/specifications of their vehicles/equipment.
Petrojam encourages persons who import vehicles into Jamaica to ensure that they conduct the necessary due diligence to ensure compatibility of the vehicles with the current national fuel standards/specifications.
Petrojam is fully aware and strives to fulfil its responsibility as an environmental steward. Over the years, the company had made notable advances in its efforts to provide cleaner products to the Jamaican market. In April 2000, Jamaica was among the few countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that completely phased lead out of gasolene.
Later, in 2009, in keeping with worldwide trends to replace the pollutant methyl tertiary buthyl ether (MTBE) as an octane enhancer, the company implemented a full roll-out of ethanol in the gasolene supplied by Petrojam.
To reiterate, the diesel sold to the motoring public of Jamaica is specified by the Government via the Petroleum Quality Control Act. This act, which is available to the general public, serves as a guide to what vehicles can be imported and used in the island.
The specifications embodied in this act were arrived at by consensus via the deliberations of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica's Industrial and Allied Products (ICAP) Committee. This ICAP committee has participants from petroleum production, petroleum marketing companies, automobile dealers, academia, consumer affairs, the Ministry of Energy, and others.