Other renewable energies - 04/25/2012
Ministerial Order on biodiesel ratified
The incessant complaints of the Spanish biodiesel sector regarding unfair imports from certain countries has finally obtained a response from the Government, albeit in the form of a reprisal against Argentina, following its decision to expropriate the YPF oil company, controlled by Spanish enterprise Repsol.
On April 20, the minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria, signed the Order for the assignation of biodiesel quotas. This ministerial order increases the production quotas of Spanish plants, which in practice represents reducing imports of this type of biofuel from Argentina, which is one of the world's largest producers. In this way, the government prioritises Spanish and European biodiesel production to the detriment of Argentine production.
Biodiesel imports from Argentina last year amounted to €750 million. Spain purchased a total of 719,473 tonnes of this biofuel from Argentina, representing almost half of the 1.6 million tonnes consumed.
Vice-President and Government spokesperson, Soraya Sáenz de Santa María, pointed out that the ministerial order, published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) of April 21, "seeks to support the (biodiesel) refining operations of Spanish and EU companies and help place them in an appropriate position to supply biodiesel in a competitive manner".
It should be remembered that the draft Order had satisfactorily gone through all administrative procedures by June 2011 but, according to APPA (Spanish Association of Renewable Energy Producers) Biofuels, its publication in the BOE had been delayed due to pressure brought to bear by the Argentine government. For this reason, the decision of the Spanish government has been very well received by the sector. According to the APPA, "this legislation will enable the Spanish industry to operate once again in conditions of fair competition, something which it has been demanding for years".
With regard to this decision on the part of the Spanish government, it has been revealed in the press that the Argentine president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, says that she respects Spain's decision to discontinue importing Argentine biofuels. She asked for calm, pointing out that Argentina "produces three million tonnes of biodiesel per year and is capable of absorbing this production".