Azerbaijan and European standards

Analysis Materials 4 March 2010 12:31 (UTC +04:00)

The countries with transition economies, which are implementing various high technologies in the field of environment such as the American system of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) or European Selective Catalytic Reduction SCR technology allowing vehicles to ensure compliance with environmental standards Euro 4 and Euro 5, should take into account that at this point is already working on a completely new, more advanced technologies and solutions. 

Introducing these standards completely will take several years. During this time, the internal combustion engine in its present classical form can come to an end, and will again need to jump in the last car. In this sense, the plans suggested by SOCAR to move immediately to the standard Euro-5 (bypassing the standard Euro-3 and Euro-4) with reference to the construction of a new petrochemical complex in Azerbaijan look very pragmatic. But today in Azerbaijan it deals with the transition to the Euro-2 standard, adopted by the EU in 1995.

Focusing on the wide interest displayed in this issue in Azerbaijan will have two words to explain these same environmental standards - this is nothing more than control over the content of the combustion products in exhaust gases of cars that are harmful to the environment. These harmful substances in exhaust gases contain several hundred, including aromatic hydrocarbons, aldehydes, carbon monoxide, toxic nitrogen oxides, lead and soot. Reducing hazardous substances in the exhausts of cars depends on two factors - the quality of fuel used, and the technical equipment of vehicles allowing to firstly ensure the most efficient combustion in the engine (e.g. fuel injection system instead of the carburetor), and secondly significantly reduce the toxicity of exhaust gases (Catalytic Reduction System).

The price

In 2009 Azerbaijan produced 1.23 million tons of gasoline and 2.22 million tons of diesel fuel. In the domestic market were sold 998 tons of gasoline and 784 tons of diesel fuel. These products are manufactured at two Baku refineries with a total capacity of 20 million tons of oil per year. In the domestic wholesale, the price of 1 ton of gasoline (including the cost of supply and VAT) is 670 manat, grade A-95 - 736 manat, 1 tons of diesel fuel - 485 AZN.

Quality of fuel

Summarizing the recent statements by senior officials regarding the quality of gasoline and diesel fuel, produced for the domestic market, it turns out that the fuel meets environmental standards Euro 2 and Euro-3, and the problems of poor quality appear after it is delivered to petrol stations. Unfortunately, although indirectly the shadow falls on the producer, because car owners do not care in what stage they were deceived by selling low-quality gasoline: whether the plant produced defective product or service station was diluted.

While there are weak links in the chain of producer - consumer, all the talks about the production of high-quality fuels in the context of implementing the main tasks - improving the environment makes no sense. Similar problems appeared in other post-Soviet countries during the transition to European standards. It is possible to solve the problem by force, or market methods. There is hope that with commissioning a network of petrol stations of SOCAR, which would be interested in selling its clean product in its own petrol stations, the situation with fuel quality will improve.

Technical equipment of vehicles

The Azerbaijani government is currently considering a ban on imports of cars that do not meet Euro-2 and Euro-3 standards into the country. The senior official of the Customs Committee of Azerbaijan stated recently that they proposed to impose restrictions on the import of automobiles from the CIS, with exploitation period of five to seven years, and perhaps even shorten it. But the main problem still remains with auto parks in the country.

Despite the apparent abundance of new foreign cars, most, including trucks, are the old foreign cars and the cars produced in Russia, not equipped with proper equipment and that do not meet environmental standards Euro. They are, according to officials, will be gradually removed from exploitation, but it is a long process. Thus, it turns out that changing the auto park may take years, during which we will not have a significant effect of environmental improvements.

Coordination between all interested sides and strict adherence to the law to prevent any attempts of individuals to profit in this business would help optimize the entire process. But in any case, it is good that the process has moved forward. Human health and cleanliness of the environment, besides being of great value, directly affect the growth of the economy.

Understanding this, the EU countries use not only compulsory methods to reduce the volume of harmful emissions, but also apply a system of stimulating measures. In Germany, buying a new car, the emissions of particulate matter (soot) of which are lower than 0.0085 g/km, you pay 600 euros less. The same tax privileges have already been taken or are about to enter into force France, Austria, the Netherlands and other countries.

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said at a recent meeting on the environmental issues: "I think that as a result of implementing the required measures, we will reach European standards in this regard. This is certainly not an easy process. It is envisaged to take large steps. But we must do it. The main thing is that the Azerbaijan state has serious and strong will to carry out this work".