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Planet Ark World Environment News Malaysia to Make Biofuel Mandatory by 2008 - Report

Date: 07-Oct-05
Country: MALAYSIA

With crude oil prices expected to remain high, Malaysia is seeking to encourage national use of a biofuel that is made from 95 percent diesel and 5 percent processed palm oil.

Legislators are expected to pass a law next year to introduce the new product, and give motorists a year to try it out before making it mandatory, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Peter Chin told The Star.

"We will enforce it and make everyone comply," the minister was quoted as saying.

"There will no longer be unadulterated diesel on sale," he said, referring to the planned switch of diesel to the new blend.

The head of the government-run Malaysian Palm Oil Board told Reuters last month that biofuel would be ready at domestic pumps and for export by October 2006.

Biofuels are taking on new importance worldwide as the cost of petroleum products rise and as countries seek to cut emissions to meet the UN Kyoto Protocol. Burning the biofuel is considered to be carbon-dioxide neutral and does not require emissions rights.

Malaysia, a net exporter of oil and gas, heavily subsidies pump prices of petrol and diesel, putting a serious strain on its budget as the cost of fossil fuels has surged.

The government estimates that it will spend 16 billion ringgit ($4.2 billion) on fuel subsidies in 2005, a 34 percent jump from last year.

Malaysia consumes up to 190,000 barrels per day (bpd) of diesel and gas oil. It produces less than 14 million tonnes of palm oil a year, of which more than 12 million are exported.

Adding 5 percent biofuel to diesel at pumps will help cut 500,000 tonnes of diesel a year, or about 10,000 bpd, officials have said.

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Reuters
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