The French Memorandum: Tackling sulphur emissions throughout the petroleum chain

Moves are afoot at the European Commission to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions at all stages of the petroleum chain. Legislation has already been adopted to limit the sulphur content of diesel and lighter domestic and industrial fuels. But the thornier problem of heavier fuels, which account for 80% of the SO2 emissions from combustion oil products, is only now being addressed. A study for the Commission and five Member States has concluded that the Community's refineries might have to invest $20 billion over the next decade to remove one million tonnes of sulphur per year.

According to European Commission figures, the petroleum sector accounted for 46.6% of the 12.2 million tonnes of SO2 emitted in the EC in 1990. Oil used in power generation, general industrial and refinery uses accounted for 4.3 million tonnes, with the remaining 1.3 million tonnes being emitted from transport, residential and commercial activities.

Figures from CONCAWE, the oil industry's European environmental organisation, b

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