Brazil will be speeding up the pace of its biodiesel mandate increase with a 14% blend (B14) to be introduced from March, AgriCensus reported the country’s Minister of Mines and Energy Alexandre Silveira as saying.

The official schedule had previously indicated that the blending mandate, currently set at 12% (B12), would increase to 13% in March, the 19 December report said.

In addition, the government had proposed increasing to a 15% mandate (B15) by March 2025, which would be above the14% that had been projected in the previous schedule, AgriCensus wrote.

“This [the increased blending mandate] reduces our dependency on importing diesel oil [and] it helps to decarbonise, as ANP (Brazilian National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels) has been making great progress in certifying the quality of biofuel products approved in Brazil and it will stimulate national agriculture,” Silveira was quoted as saying in an audio recording sent by the ministry’s press office.

With soyabean oil comprising about 70% of the feedstock used to produce biodiesel in Brazil, industry sources estimate each percentage point of increase in the biodiesel mandate represents an additional demand of more than 400,000 tonnes/year of soyabean oil.

According to Brazil’s vegetable oils association Abiove, the country could have a B15 mandate as early as 2024.

“Brazil has soyabean oil availability to meet the growing demand for biodiesel production – the industry is prepared,” Abiove told AgriCensus.

According to Abiove’s latest estimates published on 12 December 12, Brazil’s 2023/24 soyabean crush was forecast at 54.5M tonnes with soyabean oil and soyabean meal output at 11M tonnes and 41.7M tonnes, respectively. The association said it was likely to upgrade these figures in January.

With imports of biodiesel into Brazil currently suspended, a working group had been set up to evaluate the impact of allowing imports to resume, AgriCensus wrote.

In November, ANP’s Board of Directors of ANP approved a resolution regulating the import of biodiesel for use in mandatory blending, but the three associations that represent the sector in Brazil – Abiove, the Association of Biofuel Producers of Brazil (Aprobio) and the Brazilian Union of Biodiesel and Biokerosene (Ubrabio) – opposed the move.

In a statement on 19 December, Ubrabio welcomed the increase in the biodiesel mandate from the current 12% to 14% in March 2024 and 15% in March 2025, the report said.

The association also welcomed the decision to suspend imports of biodiesel “at a time when the industry is trying to recover from a difficult scenario, with around 50% of capacity idle.”