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Mon, Oct 29, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Philippines, China announce ethanol plant partnership


A Philippine oil company and its Chinese partner are planning a US$30 million ethanol plant in the southern Philippines to cash in on an expected biofuel boom, a company official said yesterday.

Eastern Petroleum president Fernando Martinez said his company and China's Guanxi Estates were planning the plant in the southern island of Mindanao with construction expected to start late next year. Martinez said his company has already developed 2,000 hectares of cassava plantation in Saranggani Province for raw materials and he is also encouraging neighboring countries to produce feedstock for the plant.

The Philippines last year passed a law requiring that all liquid fuels for engines should contain some locally sourced biofuel within two years.

Local oil retailers complain that the country does not produce enough biofuel to meet the law's requirement.

Meanwhile, China will build an oil refinery in Costa Rica to help the Central American country address its energy needs, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said.

Arias told the Mexican Reforma newspaper, in an interview published on Saturday, that the agreement with China meant the chances for completion of an earlier Mexican refinery project in Costa Rica "have now been significantly reduced."

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox had said he would build an oil refinery in Costa Rica as part of a regional energy program.

"The Chinese project is significantly less ambitious and will serve just to address Costa Rican needs," said Arias, who was making an official visit to China.

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