Argentine president calls for raising biodiesel blend rate to 7%

01 July 2010 21:01  [Source: ICIS news]

BUENOS AIRES (ICIS news)--Argentina president Cristina Fernandez has called on the country’s energy secretariat to increase the nation's biodiesel blending rate to 7% from the current 5%, with the possibility of reaching 10% by the end of the year, the head of a trade group said on Thursday.

Carlos St James, president of the Argentine Renewable Energies Chamber (CADER), said a 10% cut could be mandatory by the end of the year.

“There’s currently a nameplate capacity to produce over 2.5m tonnes/year, while the 10% cut would require about 1.5m tonnes/year,” St James said.

“This way Argentina would become the country with the highest compulsory biodiesel mix in the world,” he added.

Fernandez described Argentina's industry as natural gas dependent. As a result, the government was aiming to diversify the nation's energy mix, she said.

Each winter, local industry – including petrochemical companies such as Dow Chemical, Profertil and Carboclor – suffers natural gas cutbacks effectuated by Argentina's natural gas regulator Enargas in an effort to preserve residential supply.

Fernandez also announced the start up of the nation’s San Martin gas pipeline, which would add 5m cubic metres (cbm) to the Argentine natural gas distribution network.

By the end of 2010, the gas distribution network in Argentina would supply 150m cbm/day, said Julio de Video, public investment and services minister with the federal planning division.

That would represent an increase of 27% from 2003, when the network carried 118m cbm/day.

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By: Cristina Kroll
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