Steep road to 2020 and BS VI in India

India made the headline earlier this year when it announced that it would skip Bharat Stage V (Euro V equivalent) emissions standard and leapfrog from Bharat Stage IV (BS IV) to BS VI in 2020.

During the last day of F+L Week 2016 in Singapore, SSV Ramakumar, executive director of Indian Oil Corp.’s R&D Centre, delivered a presentation via a live broadcast from India on this daunting task. He explained what this means from the oil industry perspective, and concluded by stressing the importance that the auto and oil industries work together to meet the new ambitious targets.

“You are all aware that we [India] are highly dependent on import for our oil supply,” Ramakumar said. Furthermore, he cited data from the Global Burden of Disease database, saying that outdoor pollution is the fifth largest killer in India. So the cause of this “very bold decision” is no mystery.

Ramakumar outlined two main steps that India needs to take to reach this goal. First, in 2017, the first phase of fuel economy regulations for passenger cars will be implemented, meaning that BS IV regulations will become country-wide. Currently, 13 cities in India are supplied with BS IV fuel, while the rest of the country is using BS III fuel. Then by April 2020, BS VI will be implemented, meaning that retailers will have to be stocked with premium grade petrol with a research octane number of 95. Compliance, Ramakumar explained, will be measured by weighted average performance.

While Ramakumar spoke from the perspective of the oil industry, the auto industry has its challenges ahead as well. After-treatment devices, such as diesel particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction, will be necessary. Ramakumar estimates that this necessary change will put an economic strain on both the auto and oil sectors. He estimates that from 2000 with BS II until 2020 and BS VI, implementing these higher fuel quality standards in India will have cost approximately USD 12 billion.