Archive for the ‘biofuel’ Category

The political calculations of ethanol in Iowa and in Washington

Conventional political wisdom has held that given Iowa’s importance in US presidential contests as host of the first-in-the-nation nominating caucuses, the Renewable Fuel Standard is pretty much unassailable.

The federal biofuels mandate enjoys immense bipartisan support in the state, where corn is king.

Candidates hoping to curry favor with state voters would need to wholeheartedly endorse the RFS or at least pay lip service to the law while campaigning there. Iowa, after all, leads the nation in biofuels production, with 41 ethanol plants in the state, along with 18 biodiesel facilities.

But, if RFS opponents are to be believed, the political landscape could be changing.

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Regulation & Environment: Cap & Trade comes to California oil product markets

California’s cap and trade law has been reality for a wide variety of CO2 emitters for several years. But they are all stationary sources. In January, it moves to a moving kind of source: motor vehicles. In this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation & Environment, John Kingston, fresh off a trip to the state’s capital city of Sacramento, discusses the implementation of the law in the fuels business.

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Letter from the IAEE meeting: competitive response

To visit an energy conference in New York, or perhaps anywhere in the United States, is to feel the full force of the shale gale that has swept across the US oil and gas industry, transforming the country’s domestic and foreign perspectives. Its founding fathers have achieved legendary status and are provided the veneration that only America appears capable of giving business leaders.

Shale is variously described as a “revolution,” even a “miracle.” Benjamin Schlesinger, president of Benjamin Schlesinger and Associates, went that one step further to state that “natural gas is a renewable fuel.”

This was the international conference of the International Association for Energy Economics held in New York from June 15-18, where it was clear that America is the cat that has got the cream. It is the crucible of the revolution in drilling technology that has reduced the cost of previously unrecoverable oil and gas resources to affordable levels, and it is beginning to export those technologies to the rest of the world. It no longer has to concern itself with existing and emerging import dependencies. Instead it is discussing the possibility that it may soon be a net exporter of oil.

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Guest blog: El Niño: ¿Dónde está el dinero?

Jodie M. Gunzberg is the global head of commodity indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices, which like Platts is a division of McGraw Hill Financial. In that role, she contributes to an S&P blog, Indexology. In a recent post, she looked at the possibility of an El Nino weather system developing and what it means for commodities. We are reprinting it here for readers of The Barrel.

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Can energy sources get bigger and slower in a world going the other way?

Robert Bryce is no easy-to-pigeonhole right-winger. “The Second Iraq War, costing more than $800 billion, will be remembered as one of the biggest strategic errors in modern US history,” he writes in his new book, Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper. That comes soon after he says “I’ve never believed in American ‘exceptionalism,’ whatever that dubious term might mean.”

The main premise of Bryce’s new book is that lots and lots of things are getting SmallerFasterLighterDenserCheaper, and he strings together those five words into one word frequently in his book.

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RINs eerily calm ahead of imminent storm

Biofuels RINs prices haven’t been misbehaving like they did last year.

After exploding onto the scene and becoming one of the most volatile commodities on the planet in 2013, those once-pesky RINs have been strangely subdued. The calm before the storm is especially peculiar alongside a rapidly growing confidence that the storm is imminent.

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“Maddening” US ethanol prices mimic RINs volatility

US ethanol prices in 2014 have become what RINs were in 2013 — volatile and downright wacky.

In the opening three months of 2013, biofuels RINs went from the nerdy kid in freshman biology to a menacing and eccentric upper-classman that scared all the other kids in the cafeteria. The previously lesser-known renewable credits generated by physical gallons of biofuels became a household name of infamy as finger-pointing linked them to rising prices at the pump.

And if there’s one thing an array of industries, commodities, and political dealings have learned over the years, you don’t mess with prices at the pump.

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A different perspective on getting through the ethanol blendwall

Anna Temple of WoodMac tried at the annual AFPM meeting to put one aspect of the ethanol issue into a highly consumable number: eight.

The Houston-based downstream consultant, in one part of her presentation, said the Renewable Fuel Standard going forward could still trip up refiners, but she also addressed whether E85 has a part to play in meeting the ever-rising mandates set under RFS2.

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A cellulosic biofuels company’s woes could spell trouble for the RFS

The cellulosic biofuels industry has struggled to get off the ground, with technological and financial problems, but in 2013, there were signs that the industry was close to breaking through, with the first commercial shipments.  This year has brought more promise, as several plants are scheduled to come online.

But for one of the industry’s leading companies, 2014 has been a different story. That company is KiOR, a Texas-based firm backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. You may remember Khosla and KiOR as the subjects of a 60 Minutes piece in January about the struggles of green energy.

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Upping the Ante: US ethanol’s leadership sets out its stall after 2013′s setbacks

That the CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association would come out fighting after the 2013 annus horribilis was to be expected. When Bob Dinneen, a man they’ve come to call the Reverend in these parts because of his full throttle evangelisin’ on the blendstock’s position in the USA, took the stage to deliver the keynote opening address to the 2014 National Ethanol Conference last week, the packed auditorium knew broadly what to expect.

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