US Biodiesel exports surpass imports for second consecutive month

Biodiesel exports from the US hit an all-time high of 30.3 million gallons in May

US biodiesel exports slowed in June, pulling back from the all-time high reached in May. Despite the reduction, export activity was still 9.4 million gallons over biodiesel imports for the month, according to US Census Bureau data.

June US biodiesel imports of 15.1 million gallons were 15 percent above May’s import total but 21 percent below June 2021. The increase in June was largely due to Germany resuming shipments to the US following a noticeable absence in May.

Biodiesel imports in 2022 are 36 percent higher compared to 2021 imports halfway through the year. Expectations are for imported volumes to remain above last year’s level due to the increase in blending mandates for renewable fuels in 2022.

The EPA’s finalized blending mandate raises the renewable volume obligation for biomass-based diesel to 2.76 billion this year.

Seven countries provided exports to the US during June, one more than in May. Canada, South Korea, and Germany were the top suppliers, providing 99.7 percent of the monthly volume. Fractional amounts were received from France and Belgium.

The US Census Bureau does not cover renewable diesel imports directly, but the Energy Information Administration (EIA) does. EIA reporting lags that of the US Census Bureau. May renewable diesel (RD) imports of 27.3 million gallons were 66 percent above April but 25 percent below June 2021.

The US should continue to see elevated levels of renewable diesel imports as additional foreign capacity comes online.

Neste’s Singapore refinery is expected to be performing a six-week turnaround in the third quarter of the current year. This may limit the number of renewable diesel imports received during that time.

Biodiesel imports accounted for 8.5 percent of the D4 mandate in 2021. Adding renewable diesel imports with the biodiesel imports boosts the percentage to 25 percent of the mandate. Biodiesel and renewable diesel imports accounted for 21 percent of the mandate in 2019 and 20 percent in 2020. Biodiesel and renewable diesel imports currently account for 7.8 percent of the 2022 mandate.

Biodiesel and renewable diesel exports

The US exported an all-time high of 30.3 million gallons of biodiesel during May.

Exports during June totaled 24.5 million gallons, 19 percent below May and 11 percent under June 2021. June’s export total was 51 percent above the prior 5-year average for exports during the month of June.

The primary destinations for US biodiesel exports were Canada, the Netherlands, and Peru. Canada received 83 percent of the export volume, the Netherlands nine percent, and Peru seven percent.

Combined, the three countries accounted for 99 percent of the US export total for the month. Fractional amounts were exported to Germany, Singapore, Chile, Mexico, and Indonesia.

Halfway through the year, biodiesel imports are 36 percent above 2021 and exports are five percent higher. A strong first quarter is carrying the load for biodiesel imports, as second quarter imports are down nine percent relative to Q1 and 4.5 percent below Q2 of 2021.

The opposite is true for biodiesel exports. For the second quarter of 2022, biodiesel exports are 317 percent above the first quarter and 3.7 percent over Q2 of 2021.

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