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France Seeks to Triple Annual Biofuels Production

Oil & Gas Journal. French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin plans to launch bids before Spring 2005 for construction of four 200,000-ton biofuels production units to be built by 2007. These would triple France’s annual biofuels production capacity to some 1.2 billion tons.

The four units will complement eight existing facilities that produce primarily diester, a mix of 30% rapeseed or sunflower oil derivative (biodiesel) and 70% diesel oil. Ethanol is also being considered.

The Kyoto protocol and European directives mandate that the share of biofuels in France jump to 5.75% from 1% of the 42 million tons/year of motor fuels currently consumed. Under the directives, biofuels should represent a 2% share next year—a target that France will apparently not meet.

Total, the energy supermajor based in France, is not in total agreement with the plan. During Total’s midyear briefing on Thursday, Chairman and CEO Thierry Desmarest said he would accept the biofuels plan only if diester were chosen to boost diesel production in France while there is gasoline overcapacity, and if the tax breaks were stable and lasting.


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