SUBANG: The full implementation of the mandatory biodiesel blend
programme could be deferred to next year, said Plantation Industries
and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
He said the
ministry was still looking at the fuel’s extra cost of about four to
five sen per litre, mainly due to transport and blending costs, which
needed to be handled amicably prior to selling the fuel.
The Government has a one-off capital expenditure (capex) of about
RM200mil for the biodiesel programme but is concerned about the extra
cost and which party would absorb it.
“We don’t know whether to
pass it to consumers, petroleum companies or the Government (to absorb
it as subsidy), ” Dompok told reporters after the official launching of
Malaysian Timber Council’s (MTC) guidebook, On-site Identification of Some Common Timbers Used in Malaysia, yesterday.
Government had initially targeted to introduce the mandatory B5
biodiesel fuel programme in January this year. It is also believed that
the Government is still deliberating on whether to opt for the B5 (5%
biodiesel and 95% diesel) or B3 blend (3% biodiesel and 97% diesel).
we can stick to the B5 blend as the production of biodiesel will take
up about 500,000 tonnes of palm oil, which is good given the current
high palm oil stocks level,” Dompok said. According to the Malaysian
Palm Oil Board, Malaysia currently produces almost two milllion tonnes
of palm-based biodiesel per year.
Despite the approved 91
biodiesel licences, only seven biodiesel plants are in operation.
Production volume, however, is under 10% of the total installed
capacity of the plants in operation.
Earlier, at the MTC
guidebook launch, Dompok said the timber industry faced many challenges
from rising operation costs to shrinking export markets. He said the
global recession had affected Malaysia’s timber products exports in
2009, with the value of exports going down to about RM19.8bil from
RM22.8bil in 2008. “We will be happy if exports in 2010 can climb back
to the 2008 level,” the minister said.
Source : The Star by Hanim Adnan