Thursday, May 24, 2007

Philippines: Oil firm, Chinese traders ink deal for growth of RP's ethanol industry


A LOCAL oil company, Eastern Petroleum Corp. (EPC), has forged with
Chinese businessmen a US$350-million agreement for the development of
ethanol industry in the Philippines.

EPC chairman Fernando Martinez said the agreement signed between them
and the Guanxi Estate Group involves the construction of ethanol plant
with a total land area of 10,000 hectares in the next five years.

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Martinez said Guanxi and EPC are looking at the possible production of
400 million liters of ethanol in 2010 in preparation for the
implementation of E-10 blend.

The Bio-fuels Act of 2007 mandates oil companies to have a five-percent
blend of ethanol in their gasoline products two years after the signing
of the law and four years upon the effectivity of the law, the blend
will be increased to 10 percent.

Martinez said EPC and Guanxi will be forming a 50-50 joint venture
corporation. He hoped that other oil companies would join once the
company is established.

"We will start looking for potential areas to develop into
ethanol-producing lands," he said.

Among the areas being considered where ethanol plant could be put up are
Zambales, Region 1, Region 10, Central Luzon, Cagayan de Oro, Davao,
Batangas and Mindoro with cassava as the most likely feedstock to
produce ethanol.

"We think that it would be more viable to produce ethanol from cassava
instead of sugarcane," said Martinez.

Only San Carlos Bio-energy and Southern Bukidnon Bio-energy have so far
presented concrete plans for the construction of ethanol manufacturing

San Carlos already signed an agreement with Petron Corp. to supply its
bio-ethanol requirements and with commercial operation to start next year.

At present, the bio-ethanol program is limited to importation of
anhydrous bio-ethanol, denaturing for local sale of fuel bio-ethanol,
blending fuel bio-ethanol to gasoline and retail sale of E-gasoline.


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