First of all, thanks to Mat Kamil Awang for the pointer to these documents. The source for the data I am going to use in this article is from a Japanese site hosting presentations from the 4th Asian Petroleum Technology Symposium. This particular presentation is entitled “Clean Fuels for A Clean Malaysian Environment”, by Harlina Firdaus Marzuki and Fazil Mat Isa of PETRONAS Research & Scientific Services.
This is heavy reading but insightful, so bewarned! Continued after the jump…
First of all, it is very important to note how much emission control technology has evolved over the past years, now it takes 33 Euro II cars to equal the pollution produced by one 1970 car – those old cars running around sure are causing much more damage to the environment than the rest of us.
Next, let’s look at what exactly Euro II means, and the status of the fuel sold in our country compared to the Euro II and Euro IV standards. Note that these are figures back in 2004, so quality of fuel should have improved or stayed stagnant, let’s just assume they did not become worse! We begin with petrol…
And the following is a table with the specs of the fuel in our country. We have 6 fuels here in Malaysia, from Shell, Petronas, BHP (known as BP back in 2004), Esso-Mobil, Caltex, as well as ProJet. The following table lists the fuel as letters from A to E, and I do not know which alphabet represents which fuel.
As you can see, for our local petrol, it appears that 2 out of 6 already complies to the Euro II specifications: Fuel B and D. It’s just too bad we have no idea which petrol is which, as it’s not revealed in the presentation. The presentation also noted that actually 3 out of 6 fuels are Euro II compliant, so I assume Fuel E’s slightly higher than 5% spec Benzene content is excusable – Fuel E’s Benzene content is 5.07%. Does that 0.07% matter? I’m not an oil and gas person, I don’t know.
Fuel C and F are up to standards except for Reid Vapour Pressure which has a max threshold of 65 kPa for Euro II. Fuel A fails both the Reid Vapour Pressure and Benzene Content requirement. And check this out – all petrols have sulphur content way below the Euro II requirements.
Something else interesting to note – all of the fuel’s octane rating varies and Fuel D’s octane is the highest and closest to RON98 at 97.7 octane. Fuel E has the lowest octane rating, at 96.4 it is even lower than the RON97 it advertises! Once again, I just wish I knew which fuel comes from which company.
Now we have a look at diesel. Here is the Euro II and Euro IV specifications for diesel. The information is somewhat incomplete, missing specification requirements for Distillation T90 as well as density in kg/L.
And here is our local diesel quality. Due to the missing info in the specs table, we cannot see if the diesel sold here on Malaysian shores comply with density and Distillation T90.
It seems all of the diesel sold locally here in Malaysia fail the Euro II Distillation T95 requirements which calls for a maximum temperature of 370 degrees celcius. The lowest would be Fuel D at 370.9 degrees Celcius. 5 out of 6 of the diesel fuel here complies with Euro II’s sulphur ppm rating of a maximum of 500ppm, except for Fuel A which is an astronomical 2800ppm, only complying with the current MS123 diesel standard which calls for maximum sulphur of 3000ppm.
Fuel A seems to be the worst diesel around, and it also failed the Euro II standards for petrol! Fuel D seems to have the best fuel around, good diesel fuel with the lowest sulphur content, having the closest Distillation T95 rating to compliance for diesel, as well as petrol that complies with Euro II standards and also having the highest octane number! So yeah, I would advise you to avoid Fuel A and go with Fuel D all the time, but once again, we don’t know which fuel belongs to which company!
This data was based on the quality of fuel back in 2004, and it’s been 3 years now. Optimistically, fuel standards could have already been raised progressively since then – otherwise we assume it’s still the same. Realistically, standards could not have dropped. It looks like diesel seems to need the most work to comply with Euro II standards here in Malaysia. The presentation says the fuel refineries would need the installation of hardware called a Distillate HydroTreater unit, which I don’t know what it is, but it sounds expensive.
Coming March 31st 2007 where Euro II standards-compliant fuel have to be sold at all pumps – assuming it is not delayed – I do not see much reason to warrant an increase in petrol price, perhaps diesel. It is reported that the extra refinery for the Euro II fuel would cost between 3-4 sen per litre. But let’s wait and see.
For the moment, now we have the answers to that age-old question – are all petrols the same? No, they most definitely are not the same, and this isn’t even considering the additives yet.
Government sets new Euro II standard for fuel.