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Big oil companies slow to take up biofuels

Many major oil companies have missed fuel sustainability performance targets set by the UK Government, according to the Renewable Fuels Agency.

By Isabella Kaminski

BP, Chevron, Murco, Total, INEOS and Morgan missed all three sustainability performance targets set as part of the UK Government’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), according to a report by the Renewable Fuels Agency assessing the impact of biofuel in the RTFO’s second year.

The report, which was presented to the UK Parliament, also showed that Murco failed to report any biofuel meeting the RTFO’s Environmental Qualifying Standard and Prax failed to have its sustainability data verified.

Just 31% of biofuel feedstock met a Qualifying Environmental Standard, well below the target of 50%. The majority of biofuel suppliers also missed the greenhouse gas target of 50%, but the RTFO as a whole achieved 51% savings compared to fossil fuels.

However, Greenergy, Lissan, Mabanaft and Topaz met all three government targets. Greenergy and Shell undertook independent sustainability audits of Brazilian sugar cane with Shell also carrying out independent audits of German oilseed rape.

Lissan and Topaz supplied all of their biofuel from wastes and by-products. There are also many companies supplying only biofuel and meeting all three sustainability targets.

Nick Goodall, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Agency, says: “We've seen some progress from suppliers in meeting the challenge of sourcing their biofuels responsibly, but in many cases it has been disappointingly slow. Too many are lagging behind and dragging overall performance down. With mandatory sustainability criteria due to be introduced with the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), companies currently missing all three targets need to make a step change in performance.”

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