MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Environmental Protection Agency has not made a decision on US biofuel blending requirements for 2021 or on petitions from refiners asking to be exempted from past-year requirements going back to 2011, reported Reuters with reference to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler's statement.
Wheeler could not assure that the agency will decide the 2021 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) by the Nov. 30 deadline due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under US law, refiners are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels into their fuel mix, or buy credits from those that do.
"This has been a very unusual year as far as vehicle miles traveled, driving has been down," Wheeler said on a call with reporters. "The COVID response has had a negative impact on both corn growers as well as refiners, and we're trying to understand what the market is going to be and what we should expect for next year as far as the RVO is concerned."
Wheeler said the agency hopes to decide next year's obligations as soon as possible.
He added that the agency is weighing 67 pending petitions from refiners, asking to be exempted from obligations for years covering 2011-2018. Refiners that can prove financial harm from the obligations can apply for exemptions from the rules.
In January, an appeals court ruled that waivers granted to small refineries after 2010 had to take the form of an "extension." Most recipients of waivers in recent years have not continuously received them, casting doubt on the whole program.
Refiners have sent in waiver applications to come into compliance with that court ruling, angering biofuel advocates who say exemptions hurt demand. The oil industry refutes that claim.
On Tuesday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticized the Trump administration for its handling of the mandates.
As MRC wrote before, earlier this month, Clariant’s Business Line Biofuels and Derivatives announced that a strategic partnership had been formed with Chemtex Global Corporation for the realization of second-generation biofuel projects.
We remind that in June, 2020, TechnipFMC and Clariant Catalysts announced that they had entered into a joint development agreement for the demonstration and commercialisation of Clariant’s new state-of-the-art AcryloMax propylene ammoxidation catalyst for the production of acrylonitrile (ACN). This new collaboration will bring together Technip Energies’ well-established expertise in fluid bed technologies and process development with Clariant’s longstanding experience and knowledge in the development, manufacturing and supply of catalysts for the petrochemical industry.
ACN is a feedstock for the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, the estimated consumption decreased in January-June 2020 by 18% year on year in the Russian ABS sector, totalling 19,360 tonnes. 2,680 tonnes of ABS plastics were processed in Russia in June 2020.