Barbados is the first island in the Caribbean to officially move from High Sulphur Diesel to Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD).

This was announced at the official press launch of the procurement of ULSD at Government Headquarters this morning.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Division of Energy and Telecommunications in the Prime Minister???s Office, Jehu Wiltshire, said that the Division of Energy and the Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL) have been working together to make the transition as smooth as possible.

He noted that both organisations held a number of meetings with various stakeholders associated with ULSD, including Government entities, like the Transport Board, Sanitation Service Authority, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, along with other players such as the Barbados Fisherfolk Association, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the automobile dealers on the island.

The Acting Permanent Secretary said that a decision was taken not to move from High Sulphur Diesel to Low Sulphur Diesel because it would not be feasible in the long run.

???We would have initially agreed on the procurement of Low Sulphur Diesel, but the fact that the market is going quickly towards the use of Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel, we realised the best decision would be to go for the Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel instead of Low [Sulphur Diesel]???.

Chairman of the BNOCL, Dr. Leonard Nurse, said that his company remained committed to providing the best possible and cleanest fuels to the island. He added that the procurement of the ULSD was a step in the right direction as it was more environmentally friendly.

???I want to point out that we have taken another important step along the road to improving air quality, human health and environmental health in Barbados, following the launch some years ago of unleaded petrol,??? he told those present.

Dr. Nurse said that the BNOCL spent approximately $500,000 preparing the tanks for ULSD, adding that it was decided to clean the tanks thoroughly instead of just flushing them.

???We took the decision at the level of the board not to flush out the tanks to import the Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel and add it to the existing diesel ??? We cleaned the tanks from scratch. So what we are getting is not mixed with anything ??? It was a cost to us but we took that decision,??? he explained.

ULSD has been available at some services stations since late November, and it is not expected to cost more than Ultra-High Sulphur Diesel. Like other products it will vary according to the world market.

???The price is not going to be substantially different from the other diesel, but let me say that as of last night I am told it is one cent cheaper than High Sulphur Diesel, but we do not control the commodity price on the world market???, he stressed.

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