MOSCOW (MRC) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not yet taken action on petitions by refiners seeking retroactive biofuel blending waivers, Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa said, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.
The Iowa senator called on the EPA to reject such petitions in a weekly call with reporters. Grassley said the petitions were an attempt to skirt a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision earlier this year that said waivers from the nation’s biofuel blending laws granted to small refineries after 2010 had to take the form of an “extension."
The decision, if applied broadly, would likely put an end to the Trump Administration’s practice of granting large numbers of exemptions to blending mandates. However, a Department of Energy official said last month the department would review retroactive blending waivers. If granted, such waivers could be considered compliant with the court’s ruling.
His comments sparked outrage from biofuel advocates, who claim waivers undermine demand for ethanol and other biofuels. The oil industry refutes that claim. Grassley said the petitions should be immediately dismissed, and the fact that they haven’t was a big concern of corn farmers and the industry in general. Iowa is the largest ethanol-producing state in the country.
“If the EPA ends up accepting these petitions, not only will they lose again in court, they will risk President Trump’s support in Iowa and other Midwestern states,” he said. Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, refineries must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into their fuel pool or buy credits from those who do. Small refineries have been able to get waivers from the EPA, after their applications are reviewed by the Department of Energy.
The 10th circuit court’s decision made it unclear whether the large number of waivers issued in recent years could go ahead. “Small refinery petitions received are sent to DOE for further analysis and we will await their recommendations,” an EPA spokesperson said.
As MRC informed previously, global oil consumption cut by up to a third in Q1 2020. What happens next in the oil market depends on how quickly and completely the global economy emerges from lockdown, and whether the recessionary hit lingers through the rest of this year and into 2021.
Earlier this year, BP said the deadly coronavirus outbreak could cut global oil demand growth by 40 per cent in 2020, putting pressure on Opec producers and Russia to curb supplies to keep prices in check.
We remind that, in September 2019, six world's major petrochemical companies in Flanders, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and the Netherlands (Trilateral Region) announced the creation of a consortium to jointly investigate how naphtha or gas steam crackers could be operated using renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. The Cracker of the Future consortium, which includes BASF, Borealis, BP, LyondellBasell, SABIC and Total, aims to produce base chemicals while also significantly reducing carbon emissions. The companies agreed to invest in R&D and knowledge sharing as they assess the possibility of transitioning their base chemical production to renewable electricity.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 721,290 tonnes in the first four month of 2020, up by 4% year on year. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments grew partially because of the increased capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 347,440 tonnes in January-April 2020 (calculated by the formula production minus export plus import). Supply exclusively of PP random copolymer increased.