Report: Argentina ethanol production, consumption flat in 2019

By Erin Voegele | September 10, 2019

A report recently filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network predicts Argentina’s production and consumption of fuel ethanol will remain stable this year at approximately 1.1 billion liters (290.59 million gallons).

According to the report, Argentina currently has a 12 percent blend mandate in place for ethanol and a 10 percent mandate for biodiesel. For 2019, the actual ethanol blend mix is expected to fall just short of the mandate, at 11.6 percent. Despite rumors of a future ethanol blend mandate between 15 and 27 percent, the report states increasing government support to boost blending is unlikely due to the country’s ongoing economic troubles.

The report indicates the number of ethanol refineries in Argentina is expected to grow to 19 this year, up from 17 in 2018 and 14 in 2017.  The nameplate capacity of those facilities is expected to reach 1.4 billion liters in 2019, up from 1.3 billion liters last year and 1.2 billion liters in 2017. Capacity use is expected to fall to 79.3 percent this year, down from 85.6 percent in 2018 and 92.1 percent in 2017.

Data included in the report shows 13 of the 19 ethanol plants expected to be in existence this year will take in sugarcane as a feedstock, with the remaining six processing corn. Approximately 1.33 million tons of corn is expected to go to ethanol production this year, down from 1.51 million tons in 2018. An additional 2.25 million tons of molasses will be used as feedstock, up from 2.15 million tons in 2018.

Fuel ethanol production in Argentina is expected to reach 1.11 billion liters this year, down slightly from 1.113 billion liters in 2018. No fuel ethanol imports or exports are expected this year. Fuel ethanol consumption is expected to reach 1.06 billion liters, down slightly from 1.064 billion liters last year.

Argentina is also expected to have 36 biodiesel plants in place this year, level with 2018 but down from 37 in 2017. Nameplate capacity is expected to be 5 billion liters this year, level with 2017 and 2018. Capacity use is expected to fall slightly, from 65.2 percent in 2017 and 55.2 percent in 2018 to 50 percent in 2019.

Biodiesel production is expected to reach 2.5 billion liters this year, down from 2.76 billion liters in 2018 and 3.26 billion liters in 2017. Argentina isn’t expected to import any biodiesel this year. Exports are expected to fall to 1.2 billion liters, down from 1.592 billion liters in 2108 and 1.875 billion liters in 2017. Biodiesel consumption is expected to be at 1.3 billion liters this year, up from 1.25 billion liters in 2018, but down from 1.335 billion liters in 2017.

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