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PH seen importing less biofuels until 2017    8/30/2016 11:46:00 AM    ReadCount:619

As the local production increases, the country is expected to import less biofuels this year until 2017.
A data from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service showed that since local ethanol production in the Philippines is expected to increase through 2017 due to a modest buildup in capacity, its imports will also likely go down.
“The country’s imports are expected to decline from 311 million liters [MLi] in 2015 to 281 MLi in 2016, declining again to 278 MLi in 2017,” the data specified.
In 2015, the Philippines was the third largest market for US ethanol in 2015, with sales over  US$170 million, but  overall ethanol imports declined nine percent to 311 MLi from 339 MLi in 2014 due to increased local production.
The report, however, specified that meeting the current 10 percent ethanol blend using local ethanol remains problematic in the Philippines.
The Biofuels Act or Republic Act (RA) 9367 was signed in January 2007, making the Philippines the first country in Southeast Asia to have biofuels legislation in place.
Sugarcane and molasses are used in Philippine ethanol production, while coconut oil (CNO), where coconut methyl ester (CME) is derived, is the preferred biodiesel feedstock.
The current blend mandates are 10 percent and two percent for ethanol and biodiesel, respectively.
“Meeting the current ten percent ethanol blend using local ethanol has been problematic, while there have been no supply issues complying with the mandated two percent blend for biodiesel,” USDA said.
“In general terms, increasing prices of locally produced biofuels, coupled with declining global oil prices is likely forcing the Philippine government to rethink its current energy policy, including those for renewable energy and biofuels,” it added.