VietNamNet Bridge – The government has decided that E5 biofuels use would be compulsory throughout the country by December 1, 2015. Meanwhile, from December 1, 2014, biofuels must be used by road vehicles in seven provinces and cities.

Vietnam has shown its determination to clean the air by setting up a roadmap for using biofuels throughout the country by 2015.

E5 petrol would be used in seven provinces and cities including Hanoi, HCM City, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Can Tho, Quang Ngai and Ba Ria – Vung Tau from December 1, 2014, before it is used in all provinces and cities from December 1, 2015.

A similar plan for E10 petrol has also been set up, with the land marks at December 1, 2016 and December 1, 2017.

The government’s decision has been applauded by biofuel manufacturers and distributors, who have geared up to prepare for the important landmarks. However, they have doubts that even though biofuels are compulsory, the products may not be accepted by people.

A senior executive of Petect, a biofuel distributor, said he is afraid enterprises would find it difficult to sell E5 once people still don’t really understand about E5.

E5 allows saving fuels, while it can be made in Vietnam, which means that Vietnam would not have to spend foreign currencies to import fuels for domestic consumption. However, the majority of people still mistake E5 for methanol and they think it would be better not to use E5.

The executive, while revealing that Petec is planning to boost sales and expand the distribution networks, the only barrier to the government’s plan to use biofuels nationwide is the weak demand.

Nguyen Hoai Giang, President of Binh Son Petrochemical Company, which is running the Dung Quat oil refinery, has also affirmed that no need to worry about the supply.

Giang said the Dung Quat Bio-Ethanol plant would become officially operational in some months, which would make E5 biofuel. At first, the products would be sold in Quang Ngai market, and then in the central region and Central Highlands. With the capacity of 100 million liters per annum, the plant is quite capable of satisfying the demand in the provinces in the region in the first two years.

Saigon Petro has also geared up for the sales plan. Dang Vinh Sang, General Director of Saigon Petro, said the company has tanks, labor force and barrels ready for the pilot sales in 2014. It is expected that 1000 sales agents of Saigon Petro, located from Khanh Hoa province to Ca Mau would provide biofuels.

While enterprises now move ahead with the plan to increase the biofuel sales, they still suffer a constant anxiety that biofuels may not be welcomed by people.

At present only 3 out of the 10 enterprises are selling E5, namely PV Oil, Petect and Saigon Petro. Meanwhile, PV Oil said the sales of E5 have been very low over the last two years.

PV Oil is building three Ethanol plants which have the total capacity of 300,000 cubic meters per annum. It is expected that by 2014, when the all three plants become operational, they would provide 6 million cubic meters of E5, meeting 94 percent of the total demand in 2014.

Sang of Saigon Petro also complained that the company can sell 2000 liters of E5 petrol every day. He said that the sales would increase only if E5 petrol gets cheaper. At present, the E5 price is 100 dong per liter lower than normal petrol.

Compiled by C. V