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Australia must move on SAF by end-2025: Airbus

  • Market: Biofuels, Oil products
  • 04/06/24

Australia faces losing supplies of agricultural feedstocks required for its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) sector if it fails to develop policies for the emerging industry, warns the domestic arm of European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

Capital is poised to invest but Australia has just 12-18 months to set supply and demand side targets for the fuel's use or risk losing feedstock to nations with legislated mandates, the chief representative of Airbus Australia Stephen Forshaw told the Financial Review ESG Summit in Sydney.

"Singapore is moving so much faster than us. They've already got their first refinery in Singapore with capacity to produce 1bn litres/yr. Where's the feedstock going to come? From Australia? From other places in southeast Asia? They want to harness our feedstock," Forshaw said on 4 June.

Australia, the world's eighth-largest jet fuel consumer, lacks a blending target unlike regional aviation heavyweights Japan with its non-binding 10pc SAF target by 2030 and Singapore with its 1pc initial mandate from 2026. Australia presently imports most of its jet fuel, mainly from Singapore and South Korea, with domestic refineries producing 21,000 b/d in 2023 or 14pc of the 153,000 b/d in sales for the year.

A target for an initial 1-1.5pc SAF blend at airports while de-risking capital investment on the supply side with tax incentives similar to those offered to Australia's hydrogen developers is needed, Forshaw said, acknowledging that little of the $200mn promised by Airbus and Australian airline Qantas in 2022 has been invested because of the immaturity of the Australian market.

Australian bioenergy firm Jet Zero is emerging as the likeliest initial project in Australia, progressing its 102mn litres/yr SAF plant at Townsville in northern Queensland state by raising A$29mn ($19mn) from investors including Qantas and Airbus for its Project Ulysses. The plant will use LanzaJet's alcohol-to-jet fuel technology and convert bioethanol made from sugarcane by-products into SAF and renewable diesel.

Considerable acreage in Australia historically considered non-arable has been earmarked for use in the longer term, growing crops such as agave and hemp as a SAF feedstock but rotational crops could also provide communities with alternative incomes streams through biofuels.


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24/07/24

Indian budget lifts spending for refining, crude SPR

Indian budget lifts spending for refining, crude SPR

Mumbai, 24 July (Argus) — India allocated 1.19 trillion rupees ($14.2bn) to the oil ministry in its budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year ending 31 March, up from Rs1.12 trillion in the 2023-24 revised budget. The budget presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 23 July was the first since the BJP-led administration was re-elected in June . Indian state-controlled refiner IOC was allocated Rs273bn for 2024-25, up from Rs270bn in the revised budget for 2023-24. Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) received an increased allocation of Rs110bn, up from 95bn, while Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) was allotted Rs107bn that was up from Rs102bn previously. No capital support was allocated to the oil marketing companies in the budget given IOC, BPCL and HPCL all reported record profits in 2023-24. India's crude import dependency rose to 88.3pc in April-June from 88.8pc the previous year, oil ministry data show. India's crude imports during January-June were up by around 1pc on a year earlier at 4.65mn b/d, according to Vortexa data. ONGC's allocation rose to Rs308bn for 2024-25, while fellow state-controlled upstream firm Oil India's increased to Rs68bn from Rs305bn and Rs56bn rupees respectively in the revised budget for 2023-24. India has been trying to reduce its dependence on imports and will offer 25 oil and gas blocks in the tenth bidding round in August or September under the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy's Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP). It offered 136,596.45km² in 28 upstream oil and gas blocks in the ninth bidding round. ONGC in January secured seven of the 10 areas of exploration blocks offered under India's eighth OALP round. A private-sector consortium of Reliance Industries and BP, Oil India and private-sector Sun Petrochemicals received one block each. Allocation for the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) received a push to Rs4.08bn for the construction of caverns under its second phase against Rs400mn in the previous budget. The first phase of India's SPR built 1.33mn t (9.75mn bl) of crude storage at Vishakhapatnam, 1.5mn t at Mangalore and 2.5mn t at Padur. A provision of Rs119.25bn was made for LPG subsidies in 2024-25 compared with spending of Rs122.4bn in 2023-24. By Roshni Devi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Repsol 2Q profit doubles but cash flow turns negative


24/07/24
News
24/07/24

Repsol 2Q profit doubles but cash flow turns negative

Madrid, 24 July (Argus) — Spanish integrated Repsol's profit more than doubled on the year in the second quarter, as lower one-time losses and better results in the upstream and customer divisions more than offset a weaker refining performance. But its cash flow turned negative as it completed the buyout of its UK joint venture with China's state-controlled Sinopec, raised investments and experienced weaker refining margins. Net debt was sharply higher, largely reflecting share buy-backs. Repsol has said it will acquire and cancel a further 20mn of its own shares before the end of the year, which will probably further increase its debt. It completed a 40mn buy-back in the first half of the year. Repsol's profit climbed to €657mn ($714mn) in April-June from €308mn a year earlier, when earnings were hit by a large provision against an arbitration ruling that obliged it to acquire Sinopec's stake in their UK joint venture. Excluding this and other special items, such as a near threefold reduction in the negative inventory effect to €85mn, Repsol's adjusted profit increased by 4pc on the year to €859mn. Repsol confirmed the fall in refining margins and upstream production reported earlier in July . Liquids output increased by 3pc on the year to 214,000 b/d, and gas production fell by 4pc to 2.1bn ft³/d. Adjusted upstream profit increased by 4pc on the year to €427mn. The higher crude production and a 13pc rise in realised prices to $78.6/bl more than offset lower gas production and prices, which fell by 6pc to $3.1/'000 ft³ over the same period. Adjusted profit at Repsol's industrial division — which includes 1mn b/d of Spanish and Peruvian refining capacity, an olefins-focused petrochemicals division, and a gas and oil product trading business — was down by 16pc on the year at €288mn. Profit fell at the 117,000 b/d Pampilla refinery in Peru after a turnaround and weak refining margins, and there was lower income from gas trading. Spanish refining profit rose on a higher utilisation rate and gains in oil product trading. Repsol's customer-focused division reported adjusted profit of €158mn in April-June, 7pc higher on the year thanks to higher retail electricity margins, a jump in sales from an expanded customer base, higher margins in aviation fuels and higher sales volumes in lubricants. Repsol swung to a negative free cash flow, before shareholder remuneration and buy-backs, of €574mn in the second quarter, from a positive €392mn a year earlier. After shareholder remuneration, including the share buy-backs and dividends, Repsol had a negative cash position of €1.12bn compared with a positive €133mn a year earlier. Repsol's net debt more than doubled to €4.595bn at the end of June from €2.096bn on 31 December 2023, reflecting the share buy-backs and new leases of equipment. By Jonathan Gleave Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Air passenger traffic up at Australia’s Sydney, Perth


24/07/24
News
24/07/24

Air passenger traffic up at Australia’s Sydney, Perth

Sydney, 24 July (Argus) — Australia's Perth airport logged its highest ever passenger numbers in the 2023-24 fiscal year to 30 June, breaking a record set in 2013-14, while Sydney remained behind pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels. About 16.1mn passengers used Perth airport topping the previous 14.9mn high a decade earlier. Perth's regional passenger numbers for 2023-24 edged over 6mn, outstripping interstate passengers of 5.7mn and international at 4.3mn, likely showing an increase in mining and resources activity in the state's minerals and gas provinces. Fly-in, fly-out passengers comprise a major part of Perth's total because of the remote location of many of the state's resources projects. Sydney airport, Australia's largest, reported 9.74mn passengers for April-June, led by increased international traffic and representing a 94pc recovery rate on international passengers recorded in pre-pandemic April-June 2019. Sydney's passenger numbers for this year's first half remained 7pc below 2019 but 10pc higher than the same time last year. Australia's second-largest airport Melbourne reported 35.13mn passengers for 2023-24 . Australian jet fuel sales averaged 158,000 b/d for January-May, behind the 161,000 b/d in 2019 but 8pc above 2023's average of 146,000 b/d, according to Australian Petroleum Statistics. Imports were also up by 11pc on a year earlier for the same period. By Tom Major Sydney air passenger traffic (mn) Apr-Jun '24 Jan-Mar '24 Apr-Jun '23 Jan-Jun '24 Jan-Jun '23 Jan-Jun '19 q-o-q % ± y-o-y % ± Total 9.74 10.30 9.16 20.06 18.17 21.60 -5 6 International 3.77 4.16 3.36 7.93 6.69 8.30 -9 12 Domestic 5.97 6.16 5.80 12.13 11.49 13.30 -3 3 Source Sydney Airport Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Bipartisan bill would extend blenders tax credit


23/07/24
News
23/07/24

Bipartisan bill would extend blenders tax credit

New York, 23 July (Argus) — A bipartisan group of lawmakers has proposed legislation to extend an expiring tax credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel that are blended into the US fuel supply. The bill, which was introduced by representative Mike Carey (R-Ohio) and is pending before the House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee, would specifically extend a credit offering $1/USG for blenders of biomass-based diesel through 2025. The credit is otherwise set to expire at the end of this year and be replaced in January by the Inflation Reduction Act's 45Z credit, which will be more generous to fuels with lower carbon intensities. The text of the bill has not yet been released. But a draft version shared with Argus by an external group would restrict fuel that is "allowed" a credit under 45Z from also qualifying for the reinstated credit for blenders, a provision that seems to primarily benefit fuel imports. The expiring biodiesel credit allows fuel produced outside the US to qualify, since the credit is claimed by blenders instead of producers, while the new 45Z credit is specifically for refiners producing fuel in the US. The US administration's timeline for finalizing guidance around 45Z is unclear, to the frustration of biofuels groups that have warned that prolonged uncertainty could jeopardize planned investments aimed at boosting production and feedstock supply. An extension of the existing biodiesel credit could potentially provide more certainty to the biofuels supply chain. Fuel retailers that had previously warned that shifting the credit from blenders to producers will raise fuel prices for consumers, including the National Association of Truck Stop Owners and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, commended Carey's proposal. But the tax credit extension would also upend other incentives driving biofuel production. The 45Z credit offers up to $1/USG for road fuels, but incentives are more generous the fewer greenhouse gas emissions a fuel produces, whereas the expiring credit does not adjust benefits based on carbon intensity. In addition, prolonging incentives to import fuels could hurt domestic producers and lead to wider biodiesel and renewable diesel availability, potentially weighing on prices of renewable identification number (RIN) credits that refiners submit to regulators to comply with the renewable fuel standard. Market participants have generally expected that prices for RINs, which also act as a source of revenue and incentive to produce low-carbon fuels, will rise next year to account for 45Z providing less of a subsidy than the expiring credit. Clean Fuels Alliance America, which represents biomass-based diesel and sustainable aviation fuel companies, declined to comment or take a position on the legislation. But the group said that it would continue advocating for President Joe Biden's administration to swiftly propose and finalize 45Z guidance. The bill currently has four sponsors, three Republicans and one Democrat, but it is tough to gauge how broad support for any credit extension would be within Congress. It is not uncommon for Congress to pass legislation near the end of the year extending or reinstating tax credits that would have otherwise expired, and various energy tax credits were extended in Congress' lame duck session after the 2020 presidential election. 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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US House passes waterways bill


23/07/24
News
23/07/24

US House passes waterways bill

Houston, 23 July (Argus) — The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill on Monday authorizing the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to tackle a dozen port, inland waterway and other water infrastructure projects. The Republican-led House voted 359-13 to pass the Waterways Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes the Corps to proceed with plans to upgrade the Seagirt Loop Channel near Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. The bill also will enable the Corps to move forward with 160 feasibility studies, including a $314mn resiliency study of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which connects ports along the Gulf of Mexico from St Marks, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas. Water project authorization bills typically are passed every two years and generally garner strong bipartisan support because they affect numerous congressional districts. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously passed its own version of the bill on 22 May. That bill does not include an adjustment to the cost-sharing structure for lock and dam construction and other rehabilitation projects. The Senate's version is expected to reach the floor before 2 August, before lawmakers break for their August recess. The Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until 9 September. If the Senate does not pass an identical version of the bill, lawmakers will have to meet in a conference committee to work out the differences. WRDA is "our legislative commitment to investing in and protecting our communities from flooding and droughts, restoring our environment and ecosystems and keeping our nation's competitiveness by supporting out ports and harbors", representative Grace Napolitano (D-California) said. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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