US ethanol production in Sep drops to lowest recorded level: EPA
Houston (Platts)--18Oct2012/353 pm EDT/1953 GMT
US ethanol production in September plunged 102.2 million gallons from
August to 983.9 million gallons, its lowest level since the federal
Environmental Protection Agency started recording monthly biofuel production
in July 2010, according to data released Thursday through the EPA Moderated
Tracking System website.
The previous monthly low for ethanol production -- which is tallied
under the EPA's renewable fuel (D6) category consisting of corn-based
ethanol, the main type produced in the US -- was in February 2011, when it
was at 1.051 billion gallons.
The record-low production figure, sources said, was most likely the
result of numerous ethanol plant rate cuts and shutdowns.
One such shutdown was a plant of Abengoa's, which confirmed in early
October that it had temporarily shut its 88 million gal/year ethanol plant in
Madison, Illinois, for maintenance.
Monthly biodiesel production for September, indicated in the
biomass-based diesel (D4) category by the EPA, fell for the fourth
consecutive month as it shrank 8.638 million gallons, or 5.5%, to 147.02
million gallons. Monthly biodiesel production has not been this low since
February, when it was at 116.9 million gallons.
The slowing biodiesel production caused biodiesel Renewable
Identification Number, or RIN, prices to shoot up recently, sources said. The
Platts assessment for 2012 biodiesel RINs was at $0.70/RIN Wednesday, the
highest level since October 2. Since being assessed October 10 at a 2012-low
of $0.4250/RIN, 2012 biodiesel RIN assessments rose 27.5 cents/RIN, or 65%,
over the course of a week.
A RIN is a number issued by the EPA for the purpose of tracking
renewable fuel usage throughout the supply chain; refiners, importers and
blenders, called "obligated parties," use them to show the EPA they have
fulfilled their mandated government use of renewable fuels. If the obligated
party has not used enough physical product, such as ethanol, it can satisfy
the quota by purchasing RINs. For biodiesel, the RIN serves the same purpose,
but is biodiesel-specific.
Monthly advanced biofuel (D5) production -- mostly comprising ethanol
derived from feedstock sugarcane -- for September eased off of the previous
month's record high, dropping 8.197 million gallons, or 9.5%, to 78.012
--Shameek Ghosh, email@example.com
--Edited by Lisa Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org