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U.S. fuel industry frazzled as EPA misses 2021 biofuel volumes deadline

December 30/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was set to miss a deadline on Monday to announce how much renewable fuel the nationís refiners must blend into their fuel mix next year, raising uncertainty in the fuel market and prompting one biofuel association to threaten to take the agency to court, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Under federal law, the EPA must finalize its decision on the annual biofuel blending volume requirements it imposes on the refining industry for the next year by Nov. 30. The agency did not respond to requests for comment.

ďAt this point, it likely makes more sense to let the new administration handle the 2021 RVO (Renewable Volume Obligations) rulemaking process entirely,Ē said Geoff Cooper, the president of the Renewable Fuels Association, one of the nationís biggest biofuel industry groups. Growth Energy, another U.S. biofuel industry association, said it intends to file a lawsuit to force the Trump administrationís EPA to act ďimmediately."

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, a top refinery industry association, said it hoped the EPA will ďsoon provide certaintyĒ to its members. Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, refiners must blend billions of gallons of ethanol and other biofuels into their fuel pool, or buy credits from those that do - a policy that has created a huge market for corn-based ethanol but which the oil industry loathes.

While the Trump administration has mainly hit its deadlines for setting specific biofuel volumes mandates under the RFS, the process this year has been complicated by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Slumping fuel consumption has led refiners to argue for lower volume mandates to match demand, and biofuels producers to argue that doing so would only hurt them more.

The EPA has also left undressed a number of other questions that will likely need to be dealt with by the incoming Biden administration, including requests from oil industry advocates for the EPA to ease 2020 compliance because of the impact of the pandemic, and requests from the biofuel industry for the agency to ditch a waiver program it argued has illegally eroded demand for ethanol.

We remind that PetroChina has nearly doubled the amount of Russian crude being processed at its refinery in Dalian, the company's biggest, since January 2018, as a new supply agreement had come into effect. The Dalian Petrochemical Corp, located in the northeast port city of Dalian, was expected to process 13 million tonnes, or 260,000 bpd of Russian pipeline crude in 2018, up by about 85 to 90 percent from the previous year's level. Dalian has the capacity to process about 410,000 bpd of crude. The increase follows an agreement worked out between the Russian and Chinese governments under which Russia's top oil producer Rosneft was to supply 30 million tonnes of ESPO Blend crude to PetroChina in 2018, or about 600,000 bpd. That would have represented an increase of 50 percent over 2017 volumes.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing PE and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:bioplastics, petroleum products, crude oil, biodizel, neftegaz, petrochemistry.
Category:General News
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