October US biodiesel imports hit new heights

The U.S. imported more than 46 million gallons of biomass-based diesel in October, roughly half of which came from Argentina, according to the latest EIA information
By Ron Kotrba | December 30, 2013

As the Energy Information Administration released its latest U.S. biodiesel statistics for October, indicating record-high production volumes, the agency’s data also suggests record volumes of imports the same month. The U.S. imported more than 46 million gallons of biomass-based diesel in October, up from 28.7 million gallons in September, and more than tripling August volumes more than 15 million gallons. The agency also says U.S. exports of biomass-based diesel totaled 22.5 million gallons. This is up from September export volumes of 15.9 million gallons, but down from nearly 29 million gallons in August.

Nearly half of October’s U.S. biomass-based diesel imports came from Argentina, representing 23 million gallons. Imports from Indonesia came in distant second at around 8.5 million gallons, followed by biodiesel from Germany, totaling slightly more than 6 million gallons. Argentina and Indonesia have been effectively shut out of the European market as a result of provisional antidumping duties imposed by the European Commission this spring. Definitive duties, lasting five years, were put into place in November. Argentina has filed a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization, but the two biodiesel exporting nations have been steadily increasing exports to the U.S. since being shut out of the EU market.

The EIA says U.S. biomass-based diesel exports in October totaled 22.5 million gallons, but the agency lists exports to specific countries only at 17 million gallons. The U.S. shipped nearly 10 million gallons to Malaysia, more than 3.5 million gallons to Spain, more than 2.5 million gallons to Canada, and less than a million gallons to Taiwan and Australia combined.

U.S. imports of “other renewable diesel” came in at 19.6 million gallons for October, less than the 25.7 million gallons imported in September and 36 million gallons in August. October imports from Singapore approached 15 million gallons with the remainder originating in Finland, two Neste Oil strongholds.

The EIA defines “biomass-based diesel” as “biodiesel and other renewable diesel fuel or diesel fuel blending components derived from biomass, but excluding renewable diesel fuel coprocessed with petroleum feedstocks.” It defines “other renewable diesel” as “diesel fuel and diesel fuel blending components produced from renewable sources that are coprocessed with petroleum feedstocks and meet requirements of advanced biofuels.”