RIN webinar offers tips

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy | January 01, 2008
The beginning of 2008 marks four months into the implementation of the usage of renewable identification numbers. During this time, biodiesel producers and other parties that must comply adjusted to the new system of RIN transfers and reporting requirements.

The third quarter 2007 renewable fuel volume and RIN transaction reports-the first reporting requirements under the new system-were due to be submitted by regulated parties and biodiesel producers Nov. 30. However, in response to a request from the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa, the U.S. EPA extended the regulated parties' deadline to Feb. 28. Regulated parties are refiners, blenders and importers. The reporting deadline for biodiesel producers wasn't extended. Typically, quarterly reports are due two months after the end of the quarter. The fourth-quarter report and year-end compliance report are also due Feb. 28.

To help parties to understand the basics of compliance and report preparation, the RINSTAR Renewable Fuel Registry held a RIN Boot Camp on Oct. 30. According to Clean Fuels Clearinghouse President Clayton McMartin, 234 people representing more than 100 companies participated in the webinar, an Internet-based conference. About one-third of the participants were biofuel producers or importers, and the remaining group consisted of marketers, blenders, refiners and exporters. EPA representatives gave presentations and answered questions.

McMartin said it was apparent from the questions that compliance with the renewable fuels standard, from which the RINs were implemented, isn't up to par. "I think people are just now realizing this is for real," he said. Poll data gathered during the webinar revealed that 59 percent of respondents hadn't started on the third-quarter report, while just 5 percent had already completed and submitted the report to the EPA.

Another poll showed that 61 percent of respondents said they receive RINs at least one day after the product transfer document. "One of the most revealing things from the webinar is that RINs are not accompanying renewable fuel as required by the regulations," McMartin said. "RINs are to be transferred the same day the product is transferred. I see companies that are two months behind on their transfers."

Another webinar will likely take place in January and cover year-end compliance, McMartin said. With the right system, he said reporting can be simple. "We built our system on a solid foundation of a database," he said. "We account for every transaction, which allows us to put everything back together. We keep the data organized, so that report can be generated the day after the quarter ends."

Some RINSTAR registry customers have found this to be true. "For less than $200 and just a few minutes of my time, we had our third-quarter reports into the EPA," said Mike Swan, operations manager at Holland Terminal Inc. "I sent these reports through [the EPA's Central Data Exchange] system, which is a minor accomplishment on its own."

McMartin said the registry continues to grow each week. "We are handling as many as 800 transactions a day now-up from around 250 in September," he said. "Our transaction rate is on a pace of 10,000 transactions per month." He added that approximately 20 percent of the transactions involve biodiesel. The transactions are among more than 30 member companies, which he said accounts for more than 1 billion gallons of renewable fuel transfers annually. "That shows you how much [fuel] trading happens before it gets to the end-user," he said.
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