Sunday, January 26, 2014

Indonesia biodiesel - a tepid first tender

From Khor Reports's Palm Oil Newsletter #6 Jan/Feb 2014

A tepid tender

Indonesia’s biodiesel program is getting off to a slow start. Palm oil biodiesel players do not seem to like the “below gas oil benchmark” and the depot-delivered price offered. Below benchmark pricing means that palm oil prices may end up being higher than the selling price of biodiesel and sellers pay (often high) transport costs to the depots (interviews, Nov 2013). Thus, “Pertamina (the national oil company) received bids representing only 18% of the biodiesel tender target of 6.6m kiloleters (for two years supply).” Most producers were unable to bid competitively, with the “price below MOPS (Mean of Platts Singapore) – or MOPS minus alpha – although data over the past four years revealed that biodiesel price has mostly traded above MOPS… (Thus, DBS says) expect the participation rate to remain low for the next biodiesel tender” (Kontan & DBS Research, 2 Jan 2014). Depending on spreads of palm with gas oil prices, exports may prove more attractive.

Dorab Mistry said that Indonesia’s move to increase blending (alongside Malaysia and Brazil; while the USA and the EU balks) will be a “game changer” for palm oil demand. Indonesia upped its biodiesel blend in subsidized fuel from 7.5 to 10% in September 2013 and expanded its 2014 mandate to non-subsidized fuel and industrial users. Biodiesel capacity may jump to 8.8 (by end-2015) from 5.6 million kiloliters (in 2013; Biofuel Producers Association). Mistry says “domestic mandates for biodiesel in Indonesia and Malaysia will work as long as palm prices remain competitive with Brent crude… Between July and October, the spread between palm and gas oil was enough to create an additional monthly biodiesel demand of 100,000 to 150,000 tonnes.” About 6.34 million tonnes of palm oil may be processed into fuel in 2013 (Oil World;, 14 Nov 2013).

While Indonesia’s expanding biodiesel program offers new demand for its rising production, the road is not smooth with an unfavourable price formula. We reiterate our concern that key producer economies may lack the fiscal room to sufficiently subsidize biofuels, while political will vacillates.
EU biofuels update: Its governments failed to agree on the level of biodiesel usage. In September 2013, the European Parliament voted for a 6% cap on biodiesel to prevent an EU requirement that at least 10% renewables in transportation energy in 2020. (Bloomberg cited in AmResearch, 16 Dec 2013). Also, “EU policy makers rejected plans to push biofuel suppliers to report increased greenhouse-gas emissions” so there is now an “indefinite delay on ILUC (indirect landuse change)” (, 12 Dec 2013).

Khor Reports blog note: The results of a new tender are due soon. Industry talk is that Wilmar bid at MOPS plus. Big sellers are facing off with a big buyer's price formula?

Look out for Khor Reports' Palm Oil Newsletter #6, Jan/Feb 2014! This article is a sneak preview article from this issue (delayed in publication process)

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