On Tuesday June 3, the serene Sandals La Toc Resort welcomed members of the private sector to the launching of Rubis West Indies Limited’s newest innovation; Ultra Tec low sulphur diesel.
Low sulphur diesel is a cleaner burning fuel that has been refined so that its sulphur content is significantly lower that regular diesel.
According to Rubis, some of the eco-friendly benefits of low sulphur diesel are reduced sulphur emissions, reduced black smoke and exhaust fumes and improved air quality. Although the product was launched on Tuesday, it has been at the pumps for the past months, and according to Chad Etienne, Country Representative for Rubis, vehicle owners have expressed satisfaction with the new diesel. Etienne took some time out to speak to us on the new initiative.
“The main aim [of the event] is to let Saint Lucia know that [Rubis] is ahead of the curve, that we are very innovative and we keep coming up with new products and that we are launching this Ultra Tec diesel. The car dealerships present here today have been agitating for this for a while. We’ve listened to them, we’ve worked with the government and we were able to be the first to deliver low sulphur diesel on the island.”
During his presentation, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Sustainable Development gave the new Ultra Tec low sulphur diesel some great reviews.
Etienne reacted, “We are quite pleased. [We] know what the government is trying to achieve when it comes to sustainable development, so we have been working in tandem with them to make sure that not only do we meet the standard that they would like us to deliver but actually exceed it. The petrol-chemical industry is a great contributor to depletion of the ozone layer and we try to minimize as much as possible our footprint.”
So how does this low sulphur diesel compare to gasoline? Says Rubis, “Diesel has always been more fuel efficient in terms of miles per gallon. The problem with diesel was its high sulphur content, which could cause engine problems in some vehicles. So what we have now is a product that is even more efficient and also reduces on emissions.”
The Chief Executive Officer for Rubis Caribbean, Mauricio Nicholls, mentioned that Rubis plan to introduce an ultra low sulphur diesel in the next 12 months.
The STAR also spoke with the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy and Science and Technology, Sylvester Clauzel, who made a presentation on behalf of Senator James Fletcher and the government of Saint Lucia.
Responding to the observation that the Ministry has given Rubis’ low sulphur diesel some positive reviews, Clauzel said: “Well, our role is not to promote and in a sense it comes across like that because we’re happy with what they are doing. But basically the government has the responsibility to look at issues relating to health and therefore air quality is very important.
“We’re also concerned about things like fuel efficiency, which means vehicle owners will purchase less fuel and get more miles per gallon. These things are important for us. We’re concerned about the emission of greenhouse gases, of which sulphur oxide is one, and we’re pleased therefore [with] any initiative that will address those concerns for us. “It’s . . . our responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to ensure that we reduce on the foreign exchange that goes to fuel. We spend 30% of our GDP on importing fuel, so any initiative that reduces and improves energy efficiency in vehicles or any other sector, is something that government would support.”
Clauzel is confident that this small move is progress for the country.
“We will be able to measure the impact of this in the future and report to the United Nations convention on climate change that Saint Lucia is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, which augurs very well for us and allows us to negotiate for more funding. Having met those targets we can generate more funding for the work that we do with respect to climate change.”