Colombia’s production, use of biofuels expected to fall in 2020

By Erin Voegele | October 05, 2020

Colombia’s production and use of biofuels is expected to fall this year due to impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s biofuel imports are also expected to fall, according to a report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network.

The pandemic is expected to decrease Columbia’s gasoline pool by 13 percent this year. The diesel pool is expected to decline by 5 percent. According to the report, lower fuel consumption and no changes in biofuel blend mandates are forcing lower ethanol and biodiesel production.

Colombian production of fuel ethanol is expected at 400 million liters (105.67 million gallons) this year, assuming favorable weather conditions for sugarcane growth and the expected closure of one ethanol plant. That is down 11 percent from 2019. Fuel ethanol imports are expected to resume but decrease to 230 million liters if the ban on imports under the sanitary emergency to protect the sugar industry is lifted in the second part of the year, according to the report.

Colombia is expected to have six ethanol plants in operation this year, down from seven in 2019. Combined nameplate capacity is expected to be at 540 million liters this year, down form 660 million liters last year. Colombia’s ethanol plants are expected to operate at 74.1 percent nameplate capacity in 2020, up from 68.2 percent in 2019.

Domestic ethanol production is expected to be at 400 million liters this year, down from 450 million liters in 2019. Ethanol imports are expected to reach 260 million liters, including 230 million liters of fuel ethanol this year, compared to 275 million liters, including 265 million liters of fuel ethanol, in 2019. Total ethanol consumption is expected at 662 million liters this year, including 632 million liters of fuel ethanol, compared to 720 million liters, including 710 million liters of fuel ethanol, reported for 2019.

Colombia has a E10 mandate in place. The blend rate for 2020 is expected to reach 9.8 percent, up from 9.6 percent in 2019.

The country’s biodiesel production is expected to fall to 550 million liters this year, down from 610 million liters in 2019. The report notes the country neither imports nor exports the fuel. Biodiesel consumption is expected to fall to 555 million liters this year, down from 605 million liters in 2019.

Colombia currently has 12 biodiesel plants in operation with a combined nameplate capacity of 900 million liters. The number of plants and their capacity has held steady since 2018. Those 12 plants are expected to operate at 61.1 percent capacity this year, down from 67.8 percent in 2019.

The country also has a B10 blend mandate in place. The biodiesel blend rate in Colombia is expected at 9.1 percent this year, down from 8.4 percent in 2019.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the USDA FAS GAIN website