This week saw the International Energy Administration release a statement that was picked up by the press agencies and pretty much overlooked by the mainstream press. The statement itself tries to differentiate the types of biofuels and the impacts of fuel production and food production. The statement points out that the “can do now” such as ethanol from grains is at only 2% of cropland and the competition from more development of cellulose type plants will be forthcoming. The statement has a call on the developed economies to keep working at the job of introducing a wider base of feedstocks.

The growth of the market is also noted in the statement. 49% of the growth in world fuel supplies came from biofuels in 2007 and should get past 55% in 2008. The statement notes that a forthcoming study “Energy Technology Perspectives 2008” will show that biofuels may be necessary if carbon dioxide emissions are to be controlled. The noted report has a “most ambitious” scenario that projects biofuels may supply 26% of total transport fuel demand by 2050. It will be interesting to look at the report when it comes out.

Even more interesting is that a Bloomberg reporter, Ayesha Daya based in Dubai quotes the IEA monthly report saying that biofuels will grow by 425,000 barrels a day, a 57% increase over a year ago. “While it seems unlikely that biofuel targets will be reversed in the near future, it is sobering to realize the amount of oil that would be needed to replace them,” the IEA said. “Just offsetting the biodiesel and ethanol added to the U.S. and European markets since 2005 would require around 1 million barrels a day of additional crude oil supplies to be processed.” As it’s a local to OPEC readership the opening line is “Biofuels will account for 63% of oil supply growth from non-OPEC countries this year, taking global production of crop based fuel to more than 1.5 million barrels a day.” Lets see, in a market of 88 million barrels a day, 1.5 million is 1.7%. That’s a much better start than anyone would have guessed a couple of years ago.

The drops in the bucket are adding up. It might make one wonder who is pushing the backlash about biofuels.


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