6-Month Transition Eyed for CME Bio-Diesel Blend

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Byline: MYRNA M. VELASCO

The government is eyeing to enforce up to six months transition period for the introduction of coco methyl ester (CME) as blend to diesel products sold at the pumps.

Under the newly-signed Republic Act 9367 or the Biofuels Law, bio-diesel will be the first mandatory products to be marketed both for the transport sector and industrial end-users. Bioethanol on the other hand will be made mandatory at an initial 5.0 percent blend by 2009.

The law provides that the bio-diesel mandate should have been put into effect three months after the effectivity of the law, or at least until April this year.

But stakeholders, primarily the oil companies are asking for a longer transition period. In fact, they are gearing up for a one-year period to prepare for the changeover, but the government is batting for a compromise of six months since the law's implementing rules and regulations (IRR) has yet to be crafted.

Another key concern of the oil companies is for the government to ensure that the standards set for base fuel would be very clear, understandable and consistent so that end-users' apprehensions over safety and security of the fuels would be prudently dealt with.

"There could still be a transition period, all-in-all you're looking at five to six months before the B1 (CME) blend could be fully implemented by June (probably after elections)," noted Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri, principal author of the Biofuels Law.

Meanwhile, CME pioneer supplier Chemrez Tech assured that supply for the initial B1 mandate is available whether this is implemented in April this year or in the immediate preceding months.

"The blending can immediately be done since the combined capacity of domestic biodiesel producers is already enough for a 2. …