International Maritime organization issued new guidance for shipments of renewable fuels similar in composition to traditional mineral oils. From 1 January 2019 onwards, the carriage of energy-rich fuels, such as Neste MY Renewable Diesel, and their blends has been possible with oil tankers (under Marpol Annex I). This is expected to be more fuel-efficient than transportation with chemical tankers (Marpol Annex II), previously the only option available.
We started a project to improve occupational hygiene and safety at our refineries and terminals in Finland by introducing handheld direct-reading hydrocarbon measurement devices to our work permit issuers. Implementation e.g. work permit practices and trainings, will continue in 2019.
We continued towards ensuring that all raw materials, liquified waste plastics included, will be handled safely by our employees. We continued our work to ensure also that all feedstocks and end-products derived from all raw materials will be compliant under REACH. Regarding all Neste corporate substances, several REACH data sharing agreements have been negotiated and signed during 2018.
Based on guidance from the European Chemicals Agency, we continued preparations for complying with new EU regulation concerning harmonizing of poison center notifications, entering into force in 2020.
A national KemiDigi project in Finland proceeded with the aim to create a portal for chemical information required to be submitted to the authorities. Neste actively participated in the piloting to ensure usability for all users. The portal is expected to be ready for use in 2020.
Product and chemical safety training was incorporated into our compulsory leadership training for all new managers working in production in Finland. It became an element also in the compulsory Occupational Safety Card trainings for all blue and white-collar workers in our production in Finland.
Abnormal gasoline batch issue resolved collaboratively
In October, Neste discovered that one of the batches of gasoline produced at the Porvoo refinery in July 2018 contained higher than normal sodium content despite having been within fuel standard specification limits. This came to light after we and VEHO as the Finnish Mercedes-Benz retailer started to investigate in close collaboration what had caused the engine fault indicator light of some gasoline-powered Mercedes-Benz vehicles to turn on after fueling.
Further investigations revealed that the higher sodium content had contributed to a chemical reaction resulting in accumulation of metal salt to the specific type of fuel injection nozzles used in these specific Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The problem affected a limited number of vehicles in Finland only, and was solved with an additive treatment for certain Mercedes-Benz models in conjunction with annual maintenance or other repair work. Neste has since tightened its already extensive quality control procedures and guidance in order to avoid similar problems in the future.