THE EDITOR, Sir:
IN RESPONSE to my letter published on Friday, January 25, and a response by Petrojam Limited on page A9 of your opinion page of Tuesday, January 29, I felt compelled to respond, as they mentioned my name and I found this article a bit disconcerting and arrogant in light of what is happening to this section of the consuming public.
How can a product be said to be 'up to par' when it does not meet or exceed international standards? Why is Petrojam considering importing ultra-low sulphur diesel, until their refinery is upgraded? Isn't this an admission that the present diesel oil on the market is not 'up to par'?
Countries and companies do not unilaterally set standards and have a minister with oversight for energy sign off on same and then say you have adhered to prescribed standards, nor does the 'Government of Jamaica Petroleum Quality Control Act' mean anything if they are not in keeping with international standards.
To take it to the ridiculous, Jamaica might just as well start researching the setting of Jamaica Standards for Nuclear Fusion as this may be the answer to mankind's future energy solution.
For Petrojam to say that they have adhered to these standards and are in compliance with them is hogwash, when owners of diesel motor vehicles are suffering physical, emotional and financial stress because of this 'up to par' diesel oil.
I am sure that, except for the bauxite companies, Petrojam has one of the largest contingents of chemical engineers on staff. These engineers should advise themselves that were the manufacturers of diesel engines to develop an engine to genuinely manage this high sulphur content, then the metal or alloy used would render the cost of that engine uneconomical, and what, then, of the emissions?
There are protocols and standards which are recognised internationally by conventions and otherwise, that countries, even Third World ones like Jamaica, should adhere to.
Jamaica does not manufacture diesel engines, so they cannot set standards for engines outside of the specifications of manufacturers who are adhering to international standards.
In the article, Petrojam mentioned being environmental stewards and refer to the blending of ethanol, thereby reducing emission of lead. While this is commendable, it was not their environmental consciousness that achieved this but, rather, it was as a consequence of the main aim of reducing the cost of input into petrol to ensure greater profitability.
HUGH SANDFORD (PE)