US refiner Marathon Petroleum Corporation (Marathon) and leading renewable diesel producer Neste have entered a 50/50 joint venture to produce renewable diesel, the companies announced.

The joint venture, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will involve the production of renewable diesel following the conversion of Marathon's refinery in Martinez, California, a project known as the Martinez Renewable Fuels project.

Renewable diesel production is due to begin in the second half of this year, according to the 1 March statement, and is expected to increase Neste’s renewable products capacity by slightly over 1M tonnes/year.

The facility was expected to reach its full capacity of 2.1M tonnes/year by the end of 2023, the companies said.

“This is a very important step in our renewables growth strategy,” Neste’s president and CEO Peter Vanacker said. “The partnership will further strengthen our footprint in the USA, as we will have a broad value chain that covers feedstock sourcing to renewables production and sales in the USA.”

The production output would be split evenly between the joint venture partners, the companies said, with each company responsible for marketing the products under its own brand.

Both Neste and Marathon will be responsible for feedstock sourcing for the joint venture and the facility will be operated by Marathon.

Neste’s renewable diesel and residue sourcing platform in the USA includes used cooking oil (UCO) collector and recycler Mahoney Environmental and independent renewable waste and residue fat and oil trader Agri Trading.