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Bloomberg: New Zealand Will Require Biofuel Sales Starting April Next Year

By Gavin Evans

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) — New Zealand’s government will require the nation’s oil companies to begin selling biofuels next year to reduce emissions and cut the country’s reliance on imported fuel.

The country’s fuel retailers, including the local units of Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP Plc, will have to sell biofuel blends starting April 2008, Energy Minister David Parker said in a statement today. The new fuels must account for 0.5 percent of sales that year, rising to 3.4 percent by 2012.

“This decision is a starting point,” Parker said. “Once the infrastructure is in place, biofuels are expected to make up a greater proportion of our transport fuel than these mandated minimum levels.”

New Zealand, a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, is stepping up efforts to cut emissions after increased economic growth and a decline in forest planting meant it will exceed the treaty’s pollution targets for the period starting 2008 to 2012.

Biofuels most likely to be sold in New Zealand will be biodiesel, made from vegetable oil or animal fat, or bioethanol, alcohol made from dairy waste and potentially, wood waste, Parker said.

With about 40 million sheep and 9 million cattle, New Zealand produces about 150,000 tons a year of animal fat, or tallow, most of which is exported. Tallow and used vegetable oils could produce about 140 million liters (37 million gallon) of biodiesel a year, the country’s Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority, said in a study last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gavin Evans in Wellington at [email protected]

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