Vietnam vows to revive biofuel plan

Created 14 June 2017
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 The government’s decision to stop the use of RON 92 petrol is expected to revive a series of ethanol plants which have been bogged down in problems.

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has stated at a meeting discussing the implementation of the biofuel development plan that RON 92 petrol will only be available in the market until December 31, 2017. 

After that, only E5 RON 92 (biofuel) and RON 95 will be allowed to be produced in Vietnam.

Nguyen Van Tiu, chair of Tu Luc 1 Petroleum JSC in Hanoi, applauded the decision, saying that the ‘declaration of death’ to RON 92 petrol will pave the way for E5 petrol to become more popular and will save ethanol plants. 

A series of ethanol plants, capitalized at trillions of dong, have been left idle, including Dung Quat, Binh Phuoc and Phu Tho.

“This is a great opportunity for three unprofitable projects to revive. The State spent trillions of dong to build the plants and it would be a big waste if the plants continue to be left unused,” he said. 

“Farmers have been growing cassava for many years and they don’t know where to sell cassava as the plants aren't operating,” he said.

It is possible that the three plants will not be operational before January 1, 2018 as the deadline is nearing. However, the government should be allowed to import materials to make biofuel for domestic consumption while waiting for plants to operate at full capacity.

A senior executive of PV Oil said that when RON 92 is officially replaced with E5, the demand for ethanol will appear. If so, ethanol plants would be running at 100 percent of designed capacity. 

Meanwhile, the representative of Saigon Petrol said he doesn’t think that everyone who now mostly uses RON 92 will shift to E5. However, he believes that the demand for E5 will increase.

Saigon Petro now sells 40,000-50,000 cubic meters of RON 92 and RON 95, while the volume of E5 sold is modest at 2,000 cubic meters a month.

The representative predicted that if it stops selling RON 92, about 50 percent of customers would shift to buy RON 95 and 50 percent would choose E5. 

The filling stations in central areas tend to sell RON 95, while ones in the suburbs sell both. The sales of E5 will depend on the selling price. He believes that the price gap of VND1,500 per liter between RON 95 and E5 would be reasonable.


Source: VietNamNet

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