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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Shady Dealings or ‘Clerical Error’?


Welcome to the largest edition yet of Biobased Diesel™.

 


Upon launching in Summer 2021, the magazine featured 40 pages and five editorial contributions.

 


Today, I am proud to say the issue you hold in your hands is 64 pages with more than a dozen articles from the top experts in their respective fields.

 


This growth is not unlike that of the industries and markets this publication serves.

 


As I was putting this issue together—specifically the Information section on U.S. biobased diesel trade—I discovered an unwelcomed surprise.

 


Certain biodiesel-export data on the U.S. Energy Information Administration website has been dramatically revised down.

 


I am particularly referring to U.S. biodiesel exports to Singapore in 2022.

 


Based on EIA data, last year I reported that the U.S. exported 76.1 million gallons of biodiesel to Singapore in 2022.

 


When I saw this isn’t what the agency reports for that same 12-month period now, I had to scratch my head.

 


Thankfully I saved the data set from the year before.

 


While I didn’t have room on this page to list the monthly figures, which are quite interesting, the yearly total of U.S. biodiesel exports to Singapore has been changed from 76.1 million gallons to just over a quarter-million gallons—a whopping 99.7 percent decrease.

 


I asked EIA about this and the agency said it uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

 


At press time I awaited an explanation from the bureau.

 


Meanwhile, I recalled an unsubstantiated rumor I heard in August 2022 about biodiesel tankers coming from Asia, docking in a U.S. port, clearing customs but not unloading, and then sailing back to Southeast Asia where, somewhere at sea, the fuel was transferred to a Europe-bound ship.

 


At the time, I reached out to a contact at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

 


We corresponded several times but nothing was uncovered.

 


For those of you who have been in this business for 15 to 20 years, this may sound reminiscent of the splash-and-dash days.

 


I’ve reached out to several others on this and await more information.

 


Suffice it to say, however, that when you see the 2023 trade data on pages 16-17, total U.S. biodiesel export figures for the prior year used for comparison have been inexplicably and significantly revised downward.

 


Stay tuned to Biobased Diesel Daily® (biobased-diesel.com) for any developments on this topic. 



Author: Ron Kotrba

Editor and Publisher

Biobased Diesel™

218-745-8347

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