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Pasture-for-biofuels can boost LatAm output

  • Market: Biofuels, Emissions
  • 29/05/24

Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Guatemala can double their combined biofuel production by turning existing pasture land into crops for biofuel feedstocks, according to a University of Sao Paulo professor.

The four countries already produce 24pc of global biofuels, including 29pc of all ethanol, Glaucia Mendes Souza said during a G20 Energy Transition Working Group meeting in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, today. But converting pastures to grow sugarcane, palm oil, corn and soybeans could increase that significantly and cut total CO2 emissions, she said.

Souza highlighted six other nations with potential to greatly increase biofuel crops: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa and Thailand. If these 10 countries combined can turn 11pc of their current pastures into land to produce biomass or biofuel feedstocks, global biodiesel production would grow by 45.7bn l/yr (792,550 b/d), while global output of ethanol could increase by 64.7bn l/yr, she said.

Brazil alone would increase ethanol production by 55pc. The country produced 35.4bn l of ethanol in 2023, according to hydrocarbons regulator ANP.

For the four Latin American nations converting that much land toward biofuels would avoid 120mn t of CO2 equivalent (CO2e)/yr, up from the 63.8mn t of CO2e/yr avoided under current biofuels production, Souza said. For all 10 countries a combined 300mn t of CO2e/yr could be avoided.

Brazil has the opportunity to "set an example" to the rest of the world, Souza said on the sidelines of the conference, as the country already serves as a benchmark for biofuel production. Key programs, such as the Renovabio biofuel policy, have helped turn Brazil into an energy transition leader, she said, while the pending fuel of the future bill could further those moves.

But Brazil has plenty of room to improve, especially in the environmental arena, she said. "Brazil's deforestation rates contaminate our entire speech," she said.

The rate of deforestation in Brazil's Amazon basin in the first quarter fell by 50pc from 2022 to 2023, and is down by 40pc in the first quarter of 2024 from a year earlier, according to government figures. But deforestation in the Cerrado tropical savanna biome, mostly located in the main Brazilian grain-producing state of Mato Grosso, grew by 68pc in 2023 from a year before, according to NGO Mapbiomas, which maps the country's land.

Souza also called for more fiscal incentives for using crop byproducts, such as sugarcane bagasse, to produce biofuels.


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15/07/24

Trump taps Vance as running mate for 2024

Trump taps Vance as running mate for 2024

Washington, 15 July (Argus) — Former president Donald Trump has selected US senator JD Vance (R-Ohio) as his vice presidential pick for his 2024 campaign, elevating a former venture capitalist and close ally to become his running mate in the election. Vance, 39, is best known for his bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy that documented his upbringing in Middletown, Ohio, and his Appalachian roots. In the run-up to the presidential elections in 2016, Vance said he was "a never Trump guy" and called Trump "reprehensible." But he has since become one of Trump's top supporters and adopted many of his policies on the economy and immigration. Vance voted against providing more military aid to Ukraine and pushed Europe to spend more on defense. Trump said he chose his running mate after "lengthy deliberation and thought," citing Vance's service in the military, his law degree and his business career, which included launching venture capital firm Narya in 2020. Vance will do "everything he can to help me MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN," Trump said today in a social media post. Like Trump, Vance has pushed to increase domestic oil and gas production and criticized government support for electric vehicles. President Joe Biden's energy policies have been "at war" with workers in states that are struggling because of the importance of low-cost energy to manufacturing, Vance said last month in an interview with Fox News. Trump made the announcement about Vance on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and just two days after surviving an assassination attempt during a campaign event in Pennsylvania. Earlier today, federal district court judge Aileen Cannon threw out a felony indictment that alleged Trump had mishandled classified government documents after leaving office. By Chris Knight Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Australia's Climate Active program drives ACCU demand


12/07/24
News
12/07/24

Australia's Climate Active program drives ACCU demand

Sydney, 12 July (Argus) — The Australian federal government-backed Climate Active certification program continued to drive voluntary demand for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) last year, although future growth remains uncertain as the scheme will undergo a planned reform. Cancellations of ACCUs for Climate Active certification reached 592,837 units in 2022, down from an all-time high of 625,705 in 2021, according to estimated data that the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) recently disclosed to Argus . Figures for 2023 are not yet available, according to the department, but cancellations may have reached a new high between 650,000-700,000 units, according to Argus estimates ( see table ). Each ACCU represents 1t of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) stored or avoided by a project. The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) said it does not have a dataset of ACCU cancellations for Climate Active certification, despite having disclosed figures in some of its quarterly carbon market reports in recent years. It mentioned late last year that the program accounted for around 0.5mn of a total 0.8mn cancelled for voluntary purposes in the first three quarters of 2023, and later reported total voluntary cancellations of 290,146 units in the fourth quarter alone. Voluntary cancellations reached nearly 1.1mn units in 2023 , a new record high. Certification under the Climate Active standards is awarded to businesses that measure, reduce and offset their carbon emissions to achieve carbon neutrality. More than 700 certifications have been provided to entities including large and small businesses, local governments, and non-profit organisations. But significant changes in climate science, business practices and international benchmarks since the program was established in 2010 prompted the federal Labor government to seek modifications aimed at driving a more ambitious voluntary climate action in Australia, following its separate reform of the compliance market's safeguard mechanism . The DCCEEW late last year launched a consultation with proposals to reform Climate Active, which would require more climate ambition from businesses seeking to be certified under the program. The use of carbon credits to offset emissions that have not been reduced by businesses would be tightened, with a requirement that all eligible international offset units meet a five-year rolling vintage rule, replacing the existing post-2012 vintage requirement. Other proposals include mandating a minimum level of gross emissions reductions and a minimum percentage of renewable electricity use. "The government is working through feedback on these proposals and will announce the consultation outcome later this year," a DCCEEW spokesperson told Argus . No expected changes in eligible offsets ACCUs have been representing a small share of the total offsets used for Climate Active certification at between 5.7-10.8pc in recent years, despite the estimated record high last year, according to DCCEEW estimates ( see table ). Organisations can currently use certified emissions reductions (CERs) and removal units (RMUs) under the program, as well as verified carbon units (VCUs) from the Verra registry and verified emissions reductions (VERs) from Gold Standard. The DCCEEW did not provide a breakdown of cancelled volumes per credit type. No minimum use of ACCUs and no changes to the list of eligible international units are expected in the near term, following advice from a review from Australia's Climate Change Authority (CCA) in 2022. But some market participants have been asking for the removal of CERs, which account for the "vast majority" of carbon offsets surrendered by Australian organisations, according to utility AGL. CERs are "outdated", utility Origin Energy said in its submission to the Climate Active consultation. "We consider it would be consistent with international carbon reduction mechanisms to introduce a clear end date to phase out the use of CERs from the program and ensure greater alignment with the more relevant Paris Agreement," Origin said. "This reform is considered an immediate priority, and of more urgent need than some of the other proposals in this consultation." Uncertainties over future demand More investor and activist pressure in recent years over the use of carbon offsets with perceived low levels of integrity have also been forcing companies to review not only their offset standards, but also claims of ‘carbon neutrality' and similar terms. One of the DCCEEW's proposals is to discontinue the use of ‘carbon neutral' to describe the certified claim and to choose a different description. "A lot of the voluntary demand for carbon offsets in Australia has traditionally come from Climate Active, but the landscape is indeed moving quickly and the concept of carbon neutrality is being replaced by net zero," said Guy Dickinson, chief executive of Australia-based carbon offset services provider BetaCarbon and head of carbon trading at sister company Clima. This should drive more price stratification between carbon removals and carbon avoidance credits, he noted. Telecommunications firm Telstra, one of the biggest companies in Australia, recently announced it will stop using carbon offsets to focus instead on reducing its direct emissions. It will no longer seek Climate Active certification as a result and will remove references that its plans are ‘carbon neutral' or ‘carbon offset'. This could prompt other businesses to follow suit, market participants said. Another source of uncertainty over future voluntary demand comes from a DCCEEWW proposal that abatement from all ACCUs used under Climate Active would count towards meeting Australia's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. The use of ACCUs under the program have so far been treated as ‘additional' to Australia's emissions reduction target through accounting under the Kyoto Protocol. If the government goes ahead with such a proposal, this could disincentivise participation in Climate Active as organisations might consider this as "paying to help the government meet its targets through the voluntary action of businesses," utility EnergyAustralia warned in its submission. There has been increased interest in emerging and alternate standards to those acceptable under Climate Active, such as the American Carbon Registry, Climate Action Reserve and Puro.Earth offsets, according to environmental marketplace Xpansiv's vice president of carbon and Australian energy, Peter Favretto. But Climate Active has reported positive growth in certified brands since its inception and will likely continue to create demand for offsets in the international voluntary market and the Australian ACCU market, he said. "With the upcoming mandatory climate reporting legislation in Australia , and a similar atmosphere in other global jurisdictions such as the US and the UK, there is a growing demand that could lead to further growth in Climate Active certifications," Favretto added. By Juan Weik ACCUs used for Climate Active certification units Year Volume Total voluntary ACCU use Climate Active % 2019 243,105 329,145 73.9 2020 417,405 605,499 68.9 2021 625,705 844,445 74.1 2022 592,837 855,081 69.3 2023 650,000-700,000* 1,090,575 60-64* DCCEEW, CER *Argus estimates Total offsets under Climate Active unit Year ACCUs Total offsets ACCUs % 2019 243,105 4,230,011 5.7 2020 417,405 6,857,628 6.1 2021 625,705 5,796,466 10.8 2022 592,837 7,472,711 7.9 DCCEEW Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Port Houston fully reopens, others to follow


11/07/24
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11/07/24

Port Houston fully reopens, others to follow

New York, 11 July (Argus) — Port Houston fully reopened today in the wake of Hurricane Beryl after the US Army Corps of Engineers and US Coast Guard gave the all-clear, with other Texas ports soon to follow, according to the Greater Houston Port Bureau. "As of this morning, we are lifting all restrictions for the Houston ship channel — no more draft restrictions," port bureau president Captain Eric Carrero said. Draft restrictions remain in place at 35ft for the port of Galveston, at 30ft for Texas City, and at 36ft for Freeport, according to Carrero. Freeport is also restricted to daylight operating hours. "We are reviewing the surveys for Texas City, Galveston, and Freeport and we are hoping to lift those restrictions as well," Carrero said. The return of Port Houston to full capacity three days after Hurricane Beryl made landfall on 8 July will likely assuage concerns that damage to Texas ports would cut the supply of refined product shipments from the region at a time when refineries along the US Gulf coast hit 97pc utilization in the week ended 5 July, the highest rate since June 2023, according to US Energy Information Administration data. Any vessel glut that had built up outside of Port Houston is likely to clear quickly now that full operating conditions have been restored, according to vessel piloting services in the region. The port of Freeport was the closest of the Houston-area ports to Hurricane Beryl's landfall, which could explain additional caution given to the port in maintaining its daylight hours, given the larger potential for the storm to have blown obstructions into the port's waters. The reopening of Port Houston will likely help to shift additional Army Corps and Coast Guard personnel to the other Texas ports to help complete the necessary surveys and ensure that critical aids to navigation are where they should be before giving the all-clear. By Ross Griffith Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Texas ports could fully reopen Thursday: Pilots


10/07/24
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10/07/24

Texas ports could fully reopen Thursday: Pilots

New York, 10 July (Argus) — Major Texas ports are likely to rescind draft restrictions and begin operating at full capacity Thursday with port facility damage limited and shipping channels free of significant blockages following Hurricane Beryl, according to vessel piloting services. The US Coast Guard authorized most Texas ports to open for daylight hours only starting today , with 30 ft draft restrictions in the port of Houston and 35 ft in the ports of Galveston and Texas City. But with "no major obstructions" being found in the channels and final surveys by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Coast Guard expected soon, those restrictions may be lifted by the end of day Wednesday, according to Galtex Pilots director of operations Erik Stramblad. The restrictions slowed vessels traffic in and out of the port of Houston to about 66pc of the "typical count of 55-60 vessels daily", according to Houston Pilots Association chief operating officer JJ Plunkett. "We're working with the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers to get their final surveys," Plunkett said. "Tomorrow [the port of Houston] will probably have a deeper draft." The resulting buildup of vessels around Texas ports is likely to clear quickly once normal operations resume, according to Stramblad. "The number of vessels waiting is about the same [as usual]," Stramblad said. "It's only been a couple of days [of downtime]. It tends to clear itself up quickly once we have the full draft back." Some private terminals within the ports of Texas City and Galveston need to provide their own status assessments before operations can fully resume, Stramblad said. "Nobody wants to hit something that shouldn't be there," Stramblad said. Ship-to-ship transfers of crude, refined products and other commodities resumed off the Texas coast on Tuesday. At least two charterers today sought Suezmax tankers for crude lighterings in the US Gulf coast from 12 July. By Ross Griffith Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Boeing used less SAF in 2023 than planned


10/07/24
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10/07/24

Boeing used less SAF in 2023 than planned

New York, 10 July (Argus) — US aerospace manufacturer Boeing used less sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in 2023 than it had initially planned, citing "supply chain issues." Boeing doubled its internal SAF consumption in 2023 compared with year-prior levels according to its latest sustainability report, with the fuel making up about 3pc of its total aviation fuel use over the year. But the company's use of around 478,000 USG neat SAF in its own operations was still less than its previously announced purchase commitments. Boeing early last year committed to funding 5.6mn USG of blended SAF from Finnish biofuels producer Neste over the course of 2023, with 2.6mn USG to be used directly by Boeing and another 3mn USG to support SAF use elsewhere as part of a book-and-claim accounting process. Since the Neste blend contains about 70pc conventional jet fuel, the Boeing commitment in essence was to purchase and use within its own operations about 780,000 USG neat SAF. But Boeing's direct SAF consumption last year, which reflects fuel used internally and not fuel it supported for use elsewhere, was around 61pc of its earlier purchase agreement. The company, confirming the discrepancy, said not all the planned 2.6mn USG were received because of "supply chain issues" but declined to elaborate further. Under the initial deal, Epic Fuels and its parent company Signature Aviation were supposed to supply 2.3mn USG of the Neste blend to Boeing, while Avfuel was supposed to supply 300,000 USG. Avfuel manager of alternative fuels Keith Sawyer told Argus that it ended up supplying more than the planned 300,000 USG at Boeing's request last year and that the fuel supplier is on track to meet its obligations to supply 1.5mn USG of blended SAF to Boeing this year. Epic Fuels and Neste declined comment. Boeing has set plans to use 4mn USG of the same Neste SAF blend in its own operations this year, with some coming from Epic and some from Avfuel, and to purchase SAF certificates associated with 5.4mn USG of blended SAF used elsewhere. Boeing added that SAF, which today mostly comes from hydrotreated vegetable oils and waste fats, is "the biggest lever for the industry to decarbonize by 2050." The company plans to use more of the fuel internally and to ensure that all the commercial airplanes it produces are compatible with 100pc SAF by 2030. In short supply Aviation companies see SAF as crucial for meeting climate goals, though usage to date has been limited by SAF's steep premium to conventional jet fuel. Though prices for SAF delivered to the US west coast have recently fallen on expectations of higher supply, it is still more than twice as expensive as conventional jet according to Argus assessments. The fuel's growth thus hinges on government policy, but low environmental credit prices in the US and uncertainty about a clean fuels tax credit kicking off next year have created a difficult investment environment for biofuels producers. Few potential suppliers and thin market liquidity then make it hard for prospective customers to rapidly scale up their SAF consumption. American Airlines for instance wants to replace 10pc of its jet fuel with SAF by 2030, but the US airline reported in its own sustainability report last week that it used 2.7mn USG SAF in 2023, an increase from the prior year but still less than 0.1pc of its total fuel use. Chief executive Robert Isom said that "we've signed commitments with multiple SAF producers, at a premium, to try to secure supply" but that "the volume of SAF available today and likely to be ready over the next several years is a tiny fraction of what's needed." By Cole Martin Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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