USGC highlights ethanol’s advantages during APPEC conference

By U.S. Grains Council | October 07, 2020

The U.S. Grains Council recently participated in Asia’s largest energy event for the second time. The Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC), held for the 36th time in mid-September, gathered the energy industry together to discuss risk and resilience in the new COVID-19 environment, develop new trading strategies and explore novel strategic approaches.

“We continue to hear positive messages and recognition on the importance of renewable transport energy to meet growing demand in Asia,” said Kent Yeo, USGC regional ethanol consultant for Southeast Asia and Oceania. “Accordingly, we deliver the message that ethanol is one of the most attainable ways to achieve sustainable energy development regionally and globally.”

The exhibition, speeches and networking all moved online this year with more than 500 registered delegates. The Council sponsored the meeting, which included a presentation by Brian Healy, USGC director of global ethanol market development, on the global industry response and outlook following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Council’s participation in APPEC is a strong signal of our continued commitment and engagement with the petroleum industry in incorporating and expanding the use of ethanol,” Yeo said. “U.S. ethanol production technologies are well-established and there are strong compelling data on economic and environmental values of ethanol as a source of low carbon, high octane transportation fuel. It is important for us to effectively deliver our ethanol value proposition messages across to the energy market through these events.”

The outbreak of COVID-19 led to greater awareness of carbon reductions among global oil companies. The onset of the pandemic led to a 20-percent reduction in global oil consumption in the second quarter of 2020 and prices hit their lowest levels in decades, leading companies to consider how to transition away from reliance on oil and gas.

“Energy transition will be pushed forward much faster,” said Arif Mahmood, executive vice president and CEO of downstream at Petronas, Malaysia’s national oil company, during the virtual conference.

Johan Ullman, director of international biofuels marketing at Marquis Energy, agreed with this sentiment, commenting, “APPEC 2020 has surpassed my expectations. There are a lot of good resources and interesting perspectives from major oil companies and trading firms. These companies are definitely pivoting toward renewables from the presentations gathered.”

Participating in the APPEC conference also allowed the Council to highlight work in major ethanol markets like India. India is currently the third largest buyer of U.S. ethanol in the 2019/2020 marketing year, but those imports are only for industrial uses as ethanol imports are not allowed for fuel use.

The executive director for the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers added his voice in support of ethanol as an environment and auto-friendly fuel, encouraging the Indian industry to continue to include ethanol in fuel.

“This is one of the overt signs of support for fuel ethanol from an Indian stakeholder,” said Alejandra Danielson Castillo, USGC regional director for South Asia. “The Council’s participation in the conference was well-timed and well-positioned to further develop partnerships with stakeholders and showcase the advantages of increased ethanol use.”