According to Petrotrin president, Fitzroy Harewood, globally there has been a push for cleaner fuels in transport. In that regard, he said “if we are to remain competitive we have to complete our ultra-low-sulphur diesel (ULSD) plant”. 

He said that the project was initially started in 2010 and in 2013 there were significant challenges with regard to structural issues with commissioning. He also revealed that investigation of those issues revealed that there were further engineering issues with the plant. To date, the plant remains incomplete. 

The EPC contract with the original contractor was terminated. He announced that a new EPC contract would be finalised. Harewood indicated that the process of selecting a new EPC contractor would be completed by Q4 2017. He said that with the new contractor in place, they would be able to complete the plant and re-engineer some structural aspects of the plant to make it operational. 

Harewood also shed some light on a possible timeline for completion, indicating that the plant should be mechanically complete by the end of 2019/early 2020 and commissioning would be complete later that year. 

In 2020, according to Harewood, the Marine Pollution Convention (MARPOL) will come into effect and require low sulphur fuels for marine transport. 

The global demand for ULSD is not limited to the marine sector but also affects the motoring public. A recent statement by the US Department of Energy says that consumers with 2007 or later model year diesel vehicles should only fuel them with ULSD. 

They also indicated that ULSD is a cleaner-burning diesel fuel that contains 97% less sulfur than low-sulfur diesel (LSD). ULSD was developed to allow the use of improved pollution control devices that reduce diesel emissions more effectively but can be damaged by sulphur.