Singapore clamps down on hazardous substance, oil companies have 18 months to meet cap

▪ Singapore clamps down on hazardous substance, oil companies have 18 months to meet cap

Oil companies have about 18 months to meet a newly introduced cap on benzene content in petrol, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA). By July 1 next year, petrol at pumps here cannot contain more than 1 % of benzene.

It would be the first time Singapore is clamping down on this hazardous substance, which has been found to cause several deadly diseases, including cancer and anaemia.

"The implementation date takes into account the time needed by oil companies to upgrade their facilities to meet the new limit," an NEA spokesman said. "At present, the benzene content in petrol is not regulated." Benzene pre-dated the use of lead to make petrol ignite properly inside engines. It made a comeback when leaded petrol was phased out. Today, benzene in petrol ranges from about 1 per cent to 5 per cent, with higher-octane fuels containing more of the substance.

Based on average annual petrol consumption here, the NEA cap will remove harmful emissions from as much as 25 million litres of benzene a year.

"It's fantastic news," said Mr Clarence Woo, executive director of the Asian Clean Fuels Association. "We've been working closely with the NEA and even (then Environment and Water Resources Minister) Vivian Balakrishnan on this for the past three to four years. We're very happy that Singapore is finally doing something about this."

Mr Woo added that benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon and a precursor of fine particulate matter - another insidious pollutant. Singapore Environment Council executive director Edwin Seah described the move as "a step in the right direction".

"Benzene is highly volatile and is a known carcinogen," he said. "With the new limit, there will be reduced exposure, especially among pump attendants, and this should also result in the achievement of higher air quality standards in Singapore."

Mr Ong Eng Tong, an oil consultant who has spent more than 40 years in the industry, said benzene content ranges from 3.5 % to 4 % for 98-octane fuel, about 2 % for the 95-octane grade and less than 1.5 % for 92-octane petrol. Shell claims its petrol grades here all contain less than 3 % of benzene, while Caltex said its fuels do not contain more than 5 % of the substance. An ExxonMobil spokesman said: "We agree it is important to control benzene in petrol and support the NEA's new specifications that benzene in petrol should not exceed 1 % in volume. "The volume of benzene in our petrol is currently well below the 1 per cent cap."

Besides benzene content, the NEA has spelt out other fuel specifications that oil companies have to comply with by July next year. These include a sulphur content of not more than 10 parts per million for petrol, down from 50 today.

The new regulations are timed ahead of the implementation of the Euro 6 emission standard for petrol vehicles from Sept 1, 2017, and for diesel vehicles from Jan 1, 2018. Euro 6 is currently the most stringent emission standard.

▪ Primus Green Energy announces production of 100-octane gasoline at commercial demonstration gas-to-liquids plant Tuesday

Primus Green Energy Inc., a gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology and solutions company that transforms methane and other hydrocarbon gases into gasoline and methanol, announced on 02-Feb that it has successfully produced 100-octane gasoline at its commercial demonstration plant in Hillsborough, New Jersey.

Primus has achieved this significant milestone as a result of a breakthrough improvement to its proprietary STG+™ technology, which allows its plant to produce high-octane gasoline in addition to RBOB gasoline and methanol. With the production of 100-octane zero sulphur, zero benzene, zero lead gasoline, Primus could address fuels that meet European Union (EU) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) specifications. There is also potential for this high octane gasoline to address the needs of the 100LL aviation gasoline (avgas) market, totalling 150-200m gallons per year in the United States.

"This breakthrough in our proprietary technology directly addresses the demand from our customers in Europe and the CIS – markets that require high-octane gasoline," said Sam Golan, chief executive officer of Primus Green Energy. "This accomplishment demonstrates the advantages of Primus' technology team and business model, which focus on the continual improvement of our technology and the development of new products to meet customers' needs."

Primus' STG+™ technology can use a range of natural gas feedstocks, including wellhead and pipeline gas, dry or wet associated gas, "stranded" ethane, excess syngas from underutilized reformers or mixed natural gas liquids. The systems' stranded and associated gas applications offer an ideal solution to the lack of traditional natural gas pipeline infrastructure in remote locations, enabling the monetization of gas that would otherwise be stranded or flared. The low-cost, modular systems can be trucked in and assembled onsite for easy deployment.

The STG+™ process has been validated through more than 7,500 hours of operation at Primus' commercial testing plant. By comparison with other GTL technologies, the process holds many key advantages, including record low capital and operating costs, high liquid product quality, zero wastewater, unmatched process simplicity and one of the best conversion yields on the market. These advantages result in STG+™ technology being uniquely economical at all scales, starting as small as 100,000 Nm3 (5 million scf) per day of feed gas.

▪ Oslo Airport first in the world to offer Neste biojet fuel

Oslo Airport Gardermoen is the world’s first airport to offer renewable aviation fuel refined by Neste for refuelling airplanes. Lufthansa, SAS and KLM have already announced that they will be refuelling their planes with aviation fuel containing a renewable component in Oslo.

Neste’s renewable aviation fuel is refined in Porvoo, and it meets the strict quality requirements for aviation fuels. The fuel is transported to Oslo as a 50 percent blend with fossil aviation fuel, and its distribution takes place via the airport’s existing distribution system.

“In accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement and sustainable business operations, the aviation industry is also seeking ways to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kaisa Hietala, executive vice president of renewable products at Neste. “We are eagerly cooperating with the aviation industry to resolve this challenge. Today, we are proud to have supplied a premium-quality renewable aviation fuel that is fully compatible with fossil fuel for fuel distribution at the Oslo Airport Gardermoen.”

“The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from aviation is currently limited more by legislation than the aviation industry’s strategic intent regarding the use of renewable fuels,” Hietala continued. “We have already proved that premium-quality renewable aviation fuel works exactly like fossil fuel. We consider that the most functional and cost-effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation is for the aviation industry to use renewable fuels as low blends. We will continue our cooperation with the aviation industry to make premium-quality renewable fuels also available to the aviation industry.”

Neste’s renewable aviation fuel is refined as part of the EU-funded ITAKA project at the Porvoo refinery from sustainably produced, 100 percent certified camelina oil. Its use reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 47 percent when compared to fossil fuel.

▪ Refiners rush to make more gasoline after Diesel hangover

After years of building up Diesel production, European oil refiners are using every trick in the book to maximize gasoline output to meet unabated global demand as the two fuels stage a sharp reversal of fortune. Many operators on the continent, including Total, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil, have invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade to increase production of Diesel, the road fuel of choice in the region, while seeking to lower gasoline output, seen as a mere "by-product" of that process until recently.

But today the world faces a growing excess of Diesel and spectacular demand in Asia and the United States for gasoline and Naphtha. While oil refineries cannot maintain high output of gasoline without also ramping up Diesel production, they are now taking every possible step to tweak production in order to favour gasoline and Naphtha.

One such step is using as feedstock lighter crude oil grades with higher yields of gasoline and Naphtha. For example, light Nigerian crude prices have outperformed heavier grades. Some refineries have also opted to lower operating levels or runs for the hydrocrackers. In recent weeks, as Naphtha cracks surged to record levels, some refiners have tweaked the distillation boiling temperature, in order to favour Naphtha over kerosene and jet fuel, according to refinery sources and traders.

Benchmark European gasoline refining margins, or cracks, rose to around $15 a barrel in January, nearly three times higher than a year ago and ten times above 2013 levels -- as demand in China and Asia for the road fuel remains unabated. Diesel cracks, on the other hand, have languished due to rising global production, slower demand and a mild winter that has filled storage tanks to the maximum. A number of market analysts predict another global gasoline shortage as we have seen it during the summer of 2015 and the demand boom for the product last year resulted in some deferred maintenance schedules which will also hit the market in 2016, shortening supply further.

▪ Eni rolls out renewable diesel blend to 3,500 stations in Italy

Eni S.p.A., the Italian oil major that converted its Venice oil refinery to a renewable diesel manufacturing plant, is rolling out its renewable blended product to 3,500 fuel stations across Italy this month.

Named Eni Diesel +, the fuel contains 15 percent renewable diesel produced via the Ecofining process, jointly developed by Eni and Honeywell’s UOP.

Eni says tests performed in its research laboratories have shown that, compared to standard diesel fuels, Eni Diesel + extends the life of engines, ensures the highest power output due to clean injectors, improves engine performance reducing consumption by up to 4 percent, helps with cold starts and ensures engine noise reduction as a result of the fuel’s high cetane number.

The company reports that CO2 emissions from Eni Diesel + are reduced by 5 percent on average. Tests performed on Euro 5 vehicles at its research centre in San Donato Milanese and the Motor Institute of the National Research Council in Naples showed a significant reduction in polluting emissions, including reductions of unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide up to 40 percent and 20 percent less particulate matter.

▪ Malaysia: Petron introduces RON100 gasoline in Klang Valley and in Johor

Petron Malaysia Refining and Marketing Bhd today introduced the RON100 oil that complied with Euro-4M standard in the Malaysian market. The premium gasoline, Blaze 100 Euro 4M, currently retailed at RM2.80 per litre, is now available in eight service stations in Klang Valley and Johor with another 30 to 40 stations expected to carry the high grade fuel in the next few months based on customer demand. Petron has 560 stations nationwide in Malaysia.

Petron's Head of Retail, Faridah Ali, said the oil, which has the highest RON in the market, has exceptional resistance to "engine knocking" which damaged car engines. "The launch of Petron Blaze 100 Euro 4M is part of our promise to Malaysian motorists to introduce innovative fuels and services," she told a press conference after the launch of the petrol by the Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism. Blaze 100 petrol is being produced at the company's Port Dickson refinery under stringent quality controls. "The high-performance fuel also meets Euro 4M specification resulting in less emissions and better air quality," she said.

▪ India: Country will move from Euro-IV to Euro-VI in 2020

The idea of jumping from Bharat Stage (BS) IV, the equivalent of Euro IV, to BS VI, the equivalent of Euro VI, has long been a discussion within industry circles in India. Last week on Thursday, the government announced that it is skipping Euro V altogether and instead, will implement Euro VI in 2020.

According to India’s Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, the decision was reached unanimously, as it was deemed necessary to reduce air pollution in the country, which has some of the world’s most polluted cities, including Delhi, the capital city. India currently mandates Euro III or Bharat Stage (BS) III across the country and Euro IV or BS IV in major cities, such as New Delhi and Mumbai. Euro IV will be implemented nationwide from April 2017 and Euro VI in April 2020.

The Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been considering this idea, which has been endorsed by the Parliamentary Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas. Last September, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), an influential, independent non-profit organization that provides first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators, published a position paper arguing that it is in India’s best interest to go directly to Euro VI.

State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) already announced that it will invest almost 2bn US$ in the necessary refinery upgrades to produce Euro VI-compliant fuels by April 2020. The entire investment need in India is estimated around 4.3bn US$ to upgrade all refineries to Euro VI-standards.

▪ Iran says oil exports still constrained post-sanctions

Iran still faces constraints on oil exports as buyers are cautious about boosting trade immediately because of banking and ship insurance difficulties, a senior Iranian oil official said, despite seeing a "tangible" rise in shipments this month.

Iran emerged from years of economic isolation in January when world powers led by the United States and the European Union lifted crippling sanctions against OPEC's No.3 oil producer in return for curbs on Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The sanctions had cut Iranian crude exports from a peak of 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) before 2011 to just over 1 million bpd in recent years.

Iran is working to regain market share after sanctions relief and exports had already risen by 500,000 bpd in February, Mohsen Ghamsari, director of international affairs at National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC), told Reuters last week.

But the country's crude shipments, particularly to Europe, have been complicated by a lack of clarity on ship insurance, dollar clearance and European banks' letters of credit.

"For March, definitely our volumes are going to be higher than February ... but it depends on the logistics situation and the banking channels. Still, some shipping companies are somehow reluctant to come and banks also," he said in a telephone interview from Tehran.

"If everything goes well, definitely the volumes for March are going to be higher than February. The difference between March and February is going to be quite tangible. The main or biggest portion of these additional cargoes is going to be destined for Europe," he added.

Litasco, the trading arm of Russia's Lukoil, Spanish refiner Cepsa and France's Total have become the first buyers in Europe since the lifting of sanctions, with those cargoes being trial shipments and NIOC had started negotiations for term contracts with potential buyers.

MAXIMIZING MARKET SHARE

Tehran has said it would boost output immediately by 500,000 bpd and by another 500,000 bpd within a year, ultimately reaching pre-sanction production levels of around 4 million bpd seen in 2010-2011.

Ghamsari said it was difficult to give an exact number for Iran's oil exports but the plan was to raise shipments by roughly an additional 500,000 bpd to reach 2 million bpd this year, depending on market conditions.

"We believe within this year we have to maximise our share ... our goal is to have it within this year," he said. "But it is a plan and it is a desire. How much it is successful depends on the market and the negotiations with the customers," he said.

Even a gradual increase in Iran's exports would come at a time of global oversupply, with producers around the world pumping hundreds of thousands of barrels every day in excess of demand. Oil prices are near 11-year lows at around $37 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Venezuela and non-OPEC Russia agreed last month to freeze output at January levels in the first global oil pact in 15 years.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said last week the freeze was "laughable". Iranian sources say the country would be prepared to discuss a production pact once its output had reached pre-sanctions levels.

▪ “Refineries urgently needed” in Indonesia

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has demanded the acceleration of the development of refineries to support rising demand in the country.During a keynote speech in a signing ceremony for numerous infrastructure contracts at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, Jokowi pointed out the fact that the country had not built any new facilities for years although energy and fuel demand continued rising.

“This year, a decision has to be made and refineries must be built. Any country with a crude oil supply is welcomed. We need to have bigger stocking capacity here so that the supply chain can be shortened and we no longer need traders,” Jokowi said.In the past years, the country had several plans to build new refineries. However, the attempts fell through, usually over financial issues.

“In the next 20 to 30 years, we will face fights to secure energy and food. Therefore, we have to establish a grand strategy for our energy and food security,” the President said. The President also highlighted the need to build up stockpiles during the period of low oil prices so that the country would not suffer when oil prices jump. “It doesn’t matter if the stockpiles are located onshore or overseas. State-owned enterprises, Pertamina and the ministry have to think how to build up the stocks to anticipate price rebound,” Jokowi added.  

Global oil prices dropped by a third since late 2014 to about $35 per barrel recently following a global glut of supply caused by the success of US shale oil. As an importing country, Indonesia may currently enjoy the drop in prices as the country needs to spend less money to purchase the commodity, which has burdened the country’s current account. Indonesia’s oil demand is estimated to be equal to 1.6 million barrels per day, but Indonesia’s fields can deliver less than 800,000 per day because they have been depleted.

The lack of oil is exacerbated by aging refineries, which can run on less than their original capacities. The government has rolled out regulations to support refinery development, in part by opening up the business to private players and planning to give incentives to investors who wish to develop refineries in the country.

“Apart from the regulations, we can also use state assets such as land in Bontang to host new refineries. There will be no land rent and they will get tax holidays. Another point is that Pertamina is obliged to be offtaker of the refineries’ product,” Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said said. Pertamina is currently in the process of selecting a partner for the development of a refinery in Tuban. The company’s director for refineries, Rachmad Hardadi, previously revealed that Pertamina had shortlisted five candidates for the project, namely Russia’s Rosnef, Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, Kuwait’s Kuwait Petroleum International, China’s Sinopec and a consortium of PTTGC and Thai Oil.

▪ After bumper 2015, 2016 also looks positive for South Korean refiners

According to a recent report released by Platts, South Korean refiners recorded their biggest profit in four years in 2015, and are expected to continue their strong performance this year on the back of strong refining margins, driven by low crude oil import costs and high demand for oil products, according to analysts.

South Korea's four refiners racked up a combined operating profit of Won 4.79 trillion ($3.9 billion) in 2015, which marks a four-year high and a sharp turnaround from an operating loss of Won 746.5 billion posted in 2014.

Total revenue, however, fell nearly 30% year on year to Won 107.6 trillion last year, led by lower oil product prices. According to Moody's, the regional gross refining margin improved to $7.8/b in 2015 from $5.8/b in 2014. "We expect the positive momentum to persist, such that the Asian refining margin stays healthy at $7.0-7.5/b in 2016," the ratings agency said in its report released earlier this month.

Kwon Young-bae, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities, told Platts last week that margins are expected to remain strong, but could be pushed lower compared with 2015 amid rising product exports from China and India. In fact, benchmark Dubai crude refining margins in Singapore, a proxy for Asian refiners generally, have come off so far this year.

Kwon also said domestic oil demand is expected to grow around 2% this year, lower than the 4.1% last year, but it would be a record high in terms of volume and much higher than demand in 2014 and 2013.

State-run Export-Import Bank of Korea also said that local refiners would enjoy strong margins this year. "Demand of oil products is improving on low prices, while oil producers' plans to expand refining capacities have been delayed, which will combine to make refining margins strong," the bank said in its 2016 Industry Forecast. "Domestic refiners are forecast to record solid profits this year driven by strong margins of gasoline and naphtha," it said. Iran's boosting of oil exports would help lower South Korean refiners' crude imports costs, the bank added.

South Korea's top refiner SK Innovation said it would focus its efforts on looking for cheap crude so as to reduce import costs and prop up refining margins. "We are searching for cheaper crude and making more efforts to diversify crude supply sources," a company official said. SK Innovation's refining profitability last year was largely backed by lower crude imports costs.

The refiner bought 30.86 million barrels of crude from Iraq last year, up more than three times from the 10.16 million barrels imported in 2014. It declined to disclose how much it paid for the Iraqi barrels, but South Korean importers paid an average $49.4/b for Iraqi crude in 2015, lower than $53.7/b for Saudi crudes and $50.7/b for crude from Kuwait, according to state-run Korea National Oil Corp.

SK Innovation also increased spot purchase of North Sea Forties crude on abundant global supply. Its imports from the UK jumped 161% year on year to 13.18 million barrels last year. It also imported 3.95 million barrels of crude from Mexico last year, compared with zero in 2014. "Oil prices continued sliding due to a global supply glut last year, but refining margins improved on strong demand of light products, such as gasoline," the SK Innovation official said.

. GS Caltex said its petrochemical segment is expected to make up for its profit margins this year. As part of petrochemical-focused efforts, it plans to build a plastic compounding plant in Mexico by 2017 in a move to expand into North America. No. 3 refiner S-Oil Corp. also said it would boost production of petrochemical products to make up for possible declines in petroleum margins.

. But Kwon and other analysts warned that refiners face a key challenge in the form of China, which has become an aggressive exporter of gasoil and gasoline. Moreover, slowing demand from China could further slowdown South Korean exports there. "Increasing Chinese oil exports may erode South Korean refiners' margins," Kwon said. Although South Korean refiners' exports to China rose 3.7% year on year to 72.33 million barrels in 2015, the volume was far below the peak of 92 million barrels supplied in 2011.


▪ Washington considers nation's first carbon emissions tax


Washington could become the first state in the nation to impose a direct tax on carbon emissions from fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline and natural gas. A ballot measure before the state Legislature would create a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton of fossil fuel emissions burned in Washington, while reducing taxes.

Lawmakers have until the end of the session on March 10 to enact Initiative 732, offer an alternative proposal or automatically pass the carbon-tax measure to voters in November as written. It's not clear whether lawmakers will approve an alternative by the end of the session.

The grass-roots group Carbon Washington — which gathered more than 350,000 signatures to qualify the initiative — says a carbon tax is the best way to reduce emissions and tackle global warming. It says the tax encourages people and businesses to switch to cleaner energy by making fossil fuels more expensive.

The proposal is designed to be "revenue neutral," meaning that though tax revenues would increase for fossil fuels, it would mostly be offset by a decrease in other tax revenues. In this case, revenues would be returned to people and businesses by cutting the state sales tax by one point, virtually eliminating business taxes for manufacturers and providing rebates for working families, supporters say.

A state economic analysis, however, estimates the measure could cost the state about $915 million in lost revenues over the first four years. Initiative sponsors maintain that several assumptions used in the state's analysis are wrong. An official with the Office of Financial Management told lawmakers this month there has been "back and forth" but still a lot of disagreement between parties.

"Our intent is to be revenue neutral and we're very close to being revenue neutral," said Joe Ryan, co-chair of Carbon Washington. The nonpartisan group has raised nearly $815,000 since early 2015 with donations coming from 860 unique contributors.

Lawmakers and other groups, however, worry the loss in revenues would hurt the state's ability to pay for education, social services and other programs.

"I think there's agreement that I-732 isn't workable because of how much it would reduce state revenues," said Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, who chairs the House Environment Committee. "We have to trust the experts."

Washington's carbon tax is modelled after one in British Columbia. Carbon-tax proposals have been introduced in legislatures in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York.

In Washington State, I-732 supporters say it is the most efficient, less bureaucratic way to reduce carbon emissions. They also see the November election as their best shot at taking climate action.

A coalition of diverse groups announced last fall that it would pitch its own carbon-pricing plan that would reinvest revenues in clean-energy projects and help low-income communities that are disproportionately hurt by climate change. But the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy hasn't released specifics yet, and some members say it appears unlikely there will be a competing ballot initiative.

Last-minute talks between Carbon Washington and the Alliance to collaborate on one ballot measure fizzled at the end of last year.

Sen. Doug Ericksen, of Ferndale, who chairs the Senate committee that heard the ballot measure this month, has said the carbon tax, combined with other current and proposed rules, would hurt businesses and people.

Energy-intensive manufacturing such as steel mills and food processers, natural gas power plants, refineries that use fossil fuels, for example, would pay the tax, though supporters say some of those costs will be offset by reduced taxes elsewhere. The tax wouldn't apply to electricity from renewables like hydro, wind or solar power.

On Friday, Ericksen said he scheduled upcoming hearings in his committee in case an alternative 732 proposal develops. "It's definitely a longshot but it doesn't mean people aren't doing a lot of work," he said.

Under the proposal, an average family would pay a few hundred dollars more a year in carbon taxes, mostly in higher gasoline, heating and electricity costs, while saving a few hundred dollars a year in sales taxes, sponsors say. At the pump, the tax would add 25 cents a gallon under the $25 a metric ton price, sponsors say.

▪ Stricter emissions targets put Indian carmakers in a corner

Carmakers are expecting a lot of the Indian market, with demand there expected to pick up the slack created by the slowdown in the Chinese economy. But tapping the country's massive potential is about to get a lot tougher for its own automakers.

To tackle the air pollution choking its cities, India is set to introduce stricter environmental regulations for vehicles. Foreign automakers operating in markets where tougher standards are the norm, such as the U.S., Europe and Japan, should be able to take the changes in stride. Lagging behind in green technology against their overseas rivals, Indian automakers may struggle to keep up.

Auto Expo 2016, held Feb. 5-9 in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, was a clear reflection of how much automakers have riding on the Indian market. It featured the largest-ever number of cars at an Indian motor show, and more than 90 new vehicles were on display, up some 20% since the last show in 2014.

More than 60 manufacturers took part in the event. Passenger vehicle makers showcased pricier SUV and sedan models, a sign that the market is maturing and consumer tastes changing. So far, simple and inexpensive compact hatchbacks have been the most popular among Indian drivers.

In contrast to the glitz and glitter of the Auto Expo is the smoggy skies covering many of India's major cities, including its capital. Air quality in New Delhi is now recognized as the worst in the world.

This rampant pollution has prompted the government to bring emissions regulations into line with global norms.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who signed the United Nations climate change agreement in Paris last December, announced in January that his government will adopt tighter emissions rules four years ahead of schedule, introducing Bharat Stage VI, which is equivalent to Europe's Euro 6 standard, in 2020.

The Bharat Stage IV standard -- which is roughly the same as Euro 4, introduced in 2005 -- is the norm in major Indian states. Some smaller states are still at the Euro 3 level. Nevertheless, the government decided to skip the Euro 5 stage and mandate Bharat VI, a move that sent shock waves through the auto industry. The policy was announced shortly before the auto show.

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