LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 11 Number 4, June 2011, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times (ISSN 1440-4966) & Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor: Anne Roberts

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Supply Chain for the Lead in Leaded Petrol

By Anne Roberts, Editor, LEAD Action News, and Elizabeth O’Brien, Partner,
UN Environment Programme’s Partnership for Cleaner Fuels and Vehicles (UNEP PCFV)

UNEP Image

Steps for getting lead into leaded petrol: the lead is mined in Australia, smelted in the UK, and manufactured into the Lead additive, Tetra-ethyl Lead (TEL) in the UK. The Lead additive is then distributed by a Swiss company, and added to petrol at refineries in the six countries still selling leaded petrol for road use: Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Myanmar (Burma), North Korea and Yemen.

The six people whose photos appear on our front page could step in at various stages of the supply chain, and put an end to the remaining use of leaded petrol in the world.

Australian and Swiss connections

(Where Julia Gillard and Micheline Anne-Marie Calmy-Rey come into the picture.)

Xstrata, a Swiss-owned company, mines the lead at Mt Isa, Queensland, Australia.

UK and Swiss connection

(Where David Cameron and Micheline Anne-Marie Calmy-Rey come into the picture.)

Xstrata ships the lead to the UK, to a lead smelting company, Britannia Refined Metals Ltd.

Britannia Refined Metals Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of MIM Holdings Limited, a company now owned by Xstrata Plc. Britannia Refined Metals has treated the lead and silver output of Mount Isa and subsequently the output of the two M.I.M. owned Zinc Smelters in Avonmouth & Duisberg.

Britannia Refined Metals Ltd supplies the lead to Innospec in the United Kingdom.

UK and USA connection

(Where David Cameron, Barack Obama and Patrick Williams come into the picture.)

Innospec, a UK company, incorporated in the USA, is the only company in the world making tetra-ethyl lead, the additive that turns unleaded petrol into leaded petrol. Innospec is thus the only tetraethyl lead manufacturer and all refineries supplying leaded petrol to the six countries which are still selling leaded petrol for road traffic, must purchase their tetraethyl lead either directly or indirectly from Innospec.

Innospec has pleaded guilty to bribery charges brought by the US Serious Fraud Office, for bribery in Iraq and Indonesia. An abridged version of the case follows, from the FBI report on the case http://www.fbi.gov/washingtondc/press-releases/2010/wfo031810.htm

Innospec Inc. Pleads Guilty to FCPA Charges, Defrauding the United Nations, and Violating the U.S. Embargo Against Cuba

March 18, 2010

WASHINGTON—Innospec Inc., a Delaware corporation, pleaded guilty today to defrauding the United Nations (UN), to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)…

Innospec pleaded guilty …to a 12-count information charging wire fraud in connection with Innospec’s payment of kickbacks to the former Iraqi government under the UN Oil for Food Program (OFFP), as well as FCPA violations in connection with bribe payments it made to officials in the Iraqi Ministry of Oil…

UK and Swiss connection

(Where David Cameron and Micheline Anne-Marie Calmy-Rey re-enter the picture.)

‘According to court documents, from 2000 to 2003, Innospec’s Swiss subsidiary, Alcor, was awarded five contracts valued at more than €40 million to sell tetraethyl lead to refineries run by the Iraqi Ministry of Oil under the OFFP. To obtain these contracts, Innospec admitted that Alcor paid or promised to pay at least $4 million in kickbacks to the former Iraqi government…

Innospec acknowledged in court documents that it paid approximately $2.9 million in bribes to officials of the Indonesian government to secure sales…

Innospec’s British subsidiary, Innospec Ltd., pleaded guilty…in connection with the corrupt payments to Indonesian officials…’

Statement by Innospec on its website, regarding the lead additive

(http://www.innospecinc.com/octane-additives.html , accessed 22 June 2011)

‘Our Octane Additives business is the world's only manufacturer of tetra ethyl lead (TEL). For over 60 years we have been producing this highly effective octane enhancer for automotive and aviation gasoline and our knowledge of the product is unrivalled in the industry.

‘The addition of tetra ethyl lead (TEL) to gasoline was designed to deliver superior engine performance and reduce engine maintenance. Engines can operate at higher compression ratios without knocking. It remains an essential ingredient in aviation fuel.

‘However as a responsible organisation, we recognise the importance to the environment of reducing lead in automotive fuel so we are supporting the global phase-out programme for TEL in two important ways.

‘Firstly, we recognise that the economies of some countries continue to depend on this product. They do not have cars with catalytic converters capable of running on unleaded fuel so TEL remains by far the most cost-effective octane enhancer available.

‘With our extensive market knowledge, built up over many years, we are in a great position to help these countries make the transition to unleaded fuel smoothly. We will ensure the continuity of tetra ethyl lead (TEL) supply during their phase-out period and provide comprehensive advice and guidance on how best to manage the changeover.

‘Secondly, once a customer's lead alkyls blending plant is no longer required, we offer a complete remediation service to clean up redundant plants and leading facilities through our growing Innospec Environmental business. This includes safety training, technical and engineering support.’

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