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Dubai government to take on illegal trade in diesel and lubricants

The state-controlled Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), together with key government agencies, has recently completed a second round of inspections aimed at tackling the trade in illegal diesel while also covering illicitly traded lubricants.

According to government specifications, any diesel sold in Dubai must contain fewer than 10 parts per million of sulphur, but illegally traded diesel frequently contains more than this. There is also concern that the trade in off-spec lubricants may be hindering security and safety in the country. For example, an off-road commercial vehicle may require a heavy-duty diesel engine oil like Q8 T750 15W/40, so it will likely experience reliability issues when a substandard illegal lubricant is used.

To curb the trade in off-spec lubricants, the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) has introduced some new engine oil technical specifications based on those of the American Petroleum Institute (API). This means diesel engines need at least API CH-4 and petrol engines require at least API SL. ESMA now also requires and traded lubricants to be registered, so it can monitor quality standards.

The recent round of inspections revealed a number of companies deviating from their legal responsibilities. Some were fined for breaking the conditions of their trading licence or violating federal law, while others failed to produce the necessary ESMA certifications. Others were found breaking environmental standards or failing to produce required documentation for workers.

The inspection regime is set to continue until all organisations strictly follow the United Arab Emirates’ standards and regulations.

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