MANILA - The Department of Energy is looking at fresh investments of around P15 billion from the construction of nine bioethanol plants with a capacity of 30 million liters each that will address the demand under the 10 percent bioethanol mandate.

Energy Undersecretary Jay Layug told reporters that they expected renewed interest from prospective ethanol producers with the release of the circular that prioritizing the utilization of locally-produced bioethanol as a blend to gasoline.

"With the DOE circular, we expect them to come back," Layug said at the sidelines of the 2st Philippine International BioEnergy Conference. Current bioethanol production is only 79 million liters from the thre existing plants namely, San Carlos Bioenergy, Leyte Agri Corp. and Roxol Bioenergy.

Among those that previously expressed interest were JG Summit Corp., San Miguel Corp., First Pampanga Biofuels, Eastern Petroleum, Fuel Using Ethanol Ltd., among others.

Government expects an additional 133 million liters from three bioethanol facilities in the pipeline. Green Futures Innovations (54 million liters) is set for commissioning in March while Cavite Biofuels (34 million liters) and Kanlaon AlcoGreen (45 million liters) are expected to start production over the next two years.

DOE expects bioethanol demand to reach 500 million liters in 2012 with the release of the directive that all gasoline fuel distributed and sold by each and every oil company should contain a minimum of 10 percent bioethanol blend by volume starting August 6, 2011.

Energy director Mario Marasigan said that each ethanol facility was estimated to cost around P1.6 billion to construct and the nine facilities (at 30 million liters) will cost around P15 billion.

Section 5 of the Biofuels Act of 2006 mandates the use of locally-sourced biofuels and exhaustion of its supply before importing biofuels for blending to gasoline.

DOE has directed the oil firms to submit its monthly performance compliance report on its procurement plan for local and imported ethanol. Ethanol producers were also asked to submit their production report monthly. *PNA

source: visayandailystar

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