US ethanol goes “global” with 2010 exports at 350m gal - RFA

21 February 2011 17:47  [Source: ICIS news]

PHOENIX, Arizona (ICIS)--The US exported a record 350m gal (1.3bn litres) of ethanol in 2010, industry group Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said on Monday, touting the shipments as a sign the US industry was going global.

The RFA did not provide a comparison figure with 2009, but the group in January said exports in January-November 2010 had nearly tripled in comparison with the same period in the previous year.

The US ethanol industry entered the global marketplace in a big way in 2010, said RFA president Bob Dinneen, adding that the US biofuel was shipped to Europe, Canada, Asia, South America and the Middle East.

“Surprisingly, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia,” he said, lauding that the US product was making inroads in the strongholds of crude oil and sugarcane ethanol.

“US ethanol is being used to fuel the limos of Middle East oil sheiks and South American sugar barons,” he told delegates at the National Ethanol Conference in Phoenix.

The US is the world's top ethanol producer, but until recently it was only a minor player in the export market, receiving instead large amounts of ethanol from Brazil, the world's top exporter of the biofuel.

Brazil’s ethanol exports in the 2010-2011 crop year plummeted by around 43% to 1.6bn litres, according to data from Brazilian sugarcane industry group Unica.

The sharp drop was caused by a slump in Brazilian ethanol shipments to the US because of a closed arbitrage window.

The 16th National Ethanol Conference opened on Monday and closes on Tuesday.

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By: William Lemos
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