September 7, 2007 / 9:01 AM / 12 years ago

S.Korea to impose 3 pct biodiesel rule by 2012

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea aims to raise biodiesel content in domestic diesel to 3 percent from the current 0.5 percent by 2012, Seoul’s energy ministry said on Friday.

The news ran counter to expectations that the government may increase the ratio to 5 percent as early as next year, market watchers said.

South Korea decreed last year that all domestic diesel must have at least 0.5 percent biodiesel content in an effort to use cleaner fuel and ease its reliance on imported oil.

“We aim to raise the content ratio to 5 percent eventually in the long run, but as of now, our plan is set at 3 percent,” the energy ministry said.

“But we will review our plan once again in the latter-half of 2010.”

The government was initially set last year to impose a mandatory 5 percent blend, in line with the level targeted by the European Union by 2010, but the country’s powerful refining lobby opposed the move, forcing it to push back the target, according to market sources.

Raw materials for biodiesel are imported mainly from South America and Southeast Asia.

In comparison, France imposes a mandatory 2 percent blend, while parts of the U.S. and Germany impose a 3.6 percent blend of the eco-friendly fuel.

Earlier this year, the government allocated 2.6 billion won ($2.77 million) for plantation of rapeseed production as part of its effort to cut dependency on foreign raw materials.

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