DOE warns of possible ethanol shortage

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2013 04:12 PM | Updated as of Jan 29 2013 12:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Energy (DOE) says there might be an impending shortage of ethanol by mid-February. 

Oil firms are mandated to sell unleaded, premium and special gasoline products with at least 10% ethanol blend. 

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla says he is going to meet with representatives of oil companies today to ask more details, and verify if indeed there is an impending shortage. 

Less than 20% of the country's ethanol requirements come from local producers and the rest of the needed supply is sourced through imports. 

DOE director Zenaida Monsada says one of the reasons for the tight supply is the increased demand from other ASEAN countries that have also mandated the use of bioethanol blend in gasoline products. 

If true, Petilla says the shortage will be likely felt by mid-February. 

According to Petilla, they are looking into the legality of suspending the provision of the biofuels law on ethanol in case of a shortage. 

According to Monsada, there are no negative effects on the vehicle if motorists suddenly gas up on pure gasoline, as long as they almost drain (near empty) the ethanol blended gasoline in their tank before using the pure blend.

Meanwhile, Monsada also confirmed an impending oil price hike anytime this week. Independent industry sources compute around P1/liter spike in gasoline while diesel may be up by P0.25 to P0.40/liter.