Energy Ministry plans E20 shift in early 2020
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Energy Ministry plans E20 shift in early 2020

A Bangchak employee provides E20 blend at the company’s station on Sukhaphiban 1 Road. (Photo by Phongthai Wattanavanitvut)
A Bangchak employee provides E20 blend at the company’s station on Sukhaphiban 1 Road. (Photo by Phongthai Wattanavanitvut)

The Energy Ministry has set a time frame to transition to gasohol E20 as the primary petrol grade by early next year, while phasing out gasohol 91 to boost the value of commodity crops used in biofuel, says Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong.

"We want to make agricultural commodities like palm oil, sugar and cassava have a higher price by using them in biofuels," Mr Sontirat said at the 125th anniversary of Esso Thailand Plc in Bangkok yesterday.

Gasohol is a biofuel made from cassava and sugar blended with unleaded petrol in proportions of 10%, 20% or 85%. It was introduced to Thai motorists for commercial sale in 2008, followed by E20 and E85 a few years later.

Thailand has five categories of petrol: gasohol 91 E10, gasohol 95 E10, gasohol E20, gasohol E85 and premium ULG 95 petrol. The government aims to cut down to just three or four types of petrol.

The Energy Business Department is studying how to mandate E20 to be available nationwide, as well as considering how to deal with the impact of gasohol E20 if it becomes the primary petrol.

Mr Sontirat said the ministry plans to discuss the issue with relevant firms and authorities in the oil trade, biofuels and automotive sectors to prepare for the possibility.

By 2020, the primary fuel for diesel will change to B10 derived from crude palm oil, which is 10% biofuel and 90% diesel, replacing B7, which will be downgraded to an alternative choice.

B10 has been available at some demonstration pumps since June and will eventually be available nationwide. The retail price of B10, 2 baht per litre cheaper than B7, has proved an attractive option for motorists.

"Support for biofuels has been set up to help the agricultural sector, where prices are fluctuating," Mr Sontirat said.

He said B10 is estimated to absorb surplus crude palm oil by 2.2 million tonnes per year or 66% of total output. B7 absorbs 1.6-1.7 million tonnes per year.

An industry source who requested anonymity said the change to B20 will be simpler because cars have been compatible with the fuel type since 2007.

Separately, SET-listed Global Power Synergy Plc (GPSC) said it received triple the amount of subscription interest for its unsecured debentures than it planned to issue.

GPSC is raising 35 billion baht in funds, but after a successful roadshow and a host of new investors it received demand to buy in excess of 100 billion baht.

President and chief executive Chawalit Tippawanich said the company successfully issued its senior unsecured debentures after the book building on Nov 1.

Subscriptions comprise funds managed by asset management companies, life insurance firms, commercial banks and government-related funds, with the rest from cooperatives and other types of investors.

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