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Bolivia ready to launch biodiesel plant

Thursday, March 21st 2024 - 22:32 UTC
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This plant will produce ecological diesel and will have established a certain mixture with fossil diesel for its commercialization,” said Arce This plant will produce ecological diesel and will have established a certain mixture with fossil diesel for its commercialization,” said Arce

Bolivian President Luis Arce Catacora announced that his country's first biodiesel production plant will start operating next week in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Although some experts have doubted the project's worth, the Government said that the new undertaking would generate up to US$ 100 million in savings on fossil fuel imports. Supreme Decree 5135 authorizes the addition of up to 25% of vegetable components to conventional fuels.

“This March we are going to put into operation the first biodiesel plant in Santa Cruz. This plant will produce ecological diesel and will have established a certain mixture with fossil diesel for its commercialization,” said Arce.

The head of state also pointed out that the initiative sought to expand the possibility of blending anhydrous alcohol (ethanol) with gasoline and also mix ecological diesel with the imported fluid.

According to Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), the Biodiesel I Plant required an investment of US$ 47 million and will process 1,500 barrels of biodiesel daily with raw material from vegetable oils such as macororo, palm and soybean, among others.

Bolivia only has soybean as raw material but lacks the jatropha or macoró crops to generate the 70,000 tons of vegetable oil per annum required for this plant.

Fundación Tierra researcher Gonzalo Colque argued that given the current international price of soybean oil, the biodiesel plant will not be profitable. ”The problem is whether the government is willing to pay above the international price (...) There are too many doubts about the economic viability of the project. Unfortunately, there is no economic feasibility study to back up the figures and the announcements made by the authorities,“ Colque was quoted by local media as saying. He added that the subsidized price of diesel was ”far below“ its international price.

Hydrocarbons consultant Álvaro Ríos pointed out that soybean oil producers would also be losing money if they sell to YPFB at a price below international quotations. ”It is not a good business,” he said.

Categories: Energy & Oil, Latin America.

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