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US EPA recommends reducing biofuel mandates for 2020 retroactively

September 01/2021

MOSCOW () -- The US Environmental Protection Agency has recommended retroactively lowering biofuel blending mandates for 2020, two sources familiar with the matter said, after the agency sent a proposal on the mandates to the White House for review, reported Reuters.

The move could provide immediate relief to oil refiners that have to comply with the blending requirements. It also is likely to drag the Biden administration further into a clash between oil refiners and the biofuels industry over the requirements.

Under the US Renewable Fuel Standard Program, oil refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation's fuel mix, or buy tradeable credits, known as RINs, from those that do.Farmers and biofuel producers argue that reducing mandates harms demand for their products, though refiners reject that claim and say the costs of the program puts blue-collar refinery jobs at risk.

The EPA confirmed on Thursday that the agency had sent the biofuel blending proposal to the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB). "The proposal aims to get the (Renewable Fuel Standard) program back on track while addressing challenges stemming from decisions made under the prior administration," an EPA spokesperson said in a statement.

The agency was also expected to recommend to the White House reducing mandates for 2021, while boosting mandates for 2022 above the previous two years, Reuters reported earlier this month, citing sources. The agency did not provide details on the proposal or confirm Reuters' reporting.

Lowering mandates retroactively for 2020 could benefit in particular merchant refiners such as PBF Energy and Delta Air Lines' Monroe Energy, which slowed or halted purchases of renewable fuel credits this year as they lobbied the Biden administration for regulatory relief.

Those refiners and others had amassed earlier this year a more than US1 billion shortfall in the credits they need to comply with the mandates, an apparent bet that the Biden administration would let them off the hook or that the credit prices would fall.

The deadline for refiners to prove compliance with the 2020 requirements was extended in April to Jan. 31, 2022. Reducing the mandates would help refiners who have outstanding obligations for that compliance year.

As MRC informed earlier, in April 2021,  the US Environmental Protection Agency asked industry groups for their input on the future of the nation's biofuel policy after it ends its current phase in 2022. The consultations will provide a new opportunity for the oil, corn and biofuel lobbies to reshape the regulation, called the Renewable Fuel Standard, which has bitterly divided the two industries for more than a decade. Under the RFS, oil refiners must blend increasing billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation's fuel mix each year or buy trade able credits from those that do.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,176,860 tonnes in the first half of 2021, up by 5% year on year. Shipments of exclusively low density polyethylene (LDPE) decreased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 727,160 tonnes in the first six months of 2021, up by 31% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased. Supply of statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) subsided.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:bioplastics, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, USA.
Category:General News
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