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U.S. EPA to reconsider 2013 cellulosic ethanol target

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. environmental regulator informed oil industry groups on Thursday that it would reconsider the 2013 target for advanced ethanol made from grasses and trees as producers struggle to make the fuel. The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute had petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the target. Producers were on track to make only about 1 million gallons of cellulosic last year, well short of the mandate of 6 million gallons.

Zimbabwe relaxes compulsory fuel blending rules

Zimbabwe has relaxed rules for the compulsory blending of ethanol in fuel, owing to low production of sugarcane, a minister said on Tuesday. "The ministry has relaxed the blending of petrol from fifteen percent to ten percent until adequate (ethanol) stocks are built," energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire said in a statement. Heavy rains made it impossible to harvest sugarcane in the major production centre in the southeast of the country, he said. Zimbabwe passed laws last year forcing mandatory petrol blending in a bid to cut the fuel import bill.

Brazil's ethanol output up but future looks uncertain

Ethanol output from Brazil's main sugar production region is up this year, but mills face financial woes that will adversely impact future harvests, the industry said Tuesday. The amount of sugar milled this harvest through December 1 rose nearly 60 million tons, most of it earmarked for increased ethanol production, according to UNICA, which represents 60 percent of the country's sugar cane producers and processors. Ethanol production soared nearly 19 percent during the period while that of sugar edged up only 0.66 percent, it noted.

U.S. Senators introduce bill to eliminate corn ethanol mandate

By Timothy Gardner WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of 10 U.S. Senators introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate, arguing that current law raises the cost of food and animal feed and damages the environment.

Brazil's sugar harvest slowing, priority to ethanol

Sugar cane harvesting in Brazil's central-south region slowed in the first half of last month, with a growing share still going toward ethanol production, the industry association Unica said Tuesday. "The sugar cane volume transformed by units of the central-south region (the country's main sugar producing area) reached 25.77 million tons during the second half of November," down 24.44 percent compared with the first half, it said in a statement.

Despite rising demand, Brazil ethanol sector struggles

Hobbled by rising production costs and low prices, Brazil's ethanol sector is in crisis, with many sugar mills closing despite rising demand. The South American country is the world's leading sugar producer with an ever-growing share going toward biofuel production. But despite an expected bumper crop for 2013-14 and growing domestic consumption, its mills are drowning in debt.

Analysis: High-ethanol gas - Not coming to a pump near you

By Michael Hirtzer CHICAGO (Reuters) - A month ago, Steve Walk was on the brink of deals to sell two big oil refiners some of his company's specialized oil pumps, which serve up fuel that is 85 percent ethanol, a biofuel made mostly from corn.

U.S. EPA to unveil biofuel rules as soon as Friday

By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Environmental regulators are likely to unveil rules on Friday dictating how much ethanol and other renewable fuels must be blended into the U.S. gasoline supply in 2014, following weeks of lobbying by the oil and biofuels industries, industry sources who have been briefed on the process said on Thursday.

Fire destroys 180,000 tons of sugar at Brazil port

A fire Friday destroyed some 180,000 tons of sugar at several warehouses in the southern Brazilian port of Santos before it was contained, authorities said. Four people were injured in the blaze, which erupted in warehouses owned by Copersucar, the world's largest sugar trader, the Port of Santos said in a statement. "The fire affected some 180,000 tons of raw sugar," said Copersucar in a statement. "The causes of the incident are not yet known and are being investigated," the firm added, saying it had put in place contingency plans to minimize the impact.

Fire hits up to 300,000 tons of sugar at Brazil port

A fire destroyed up to 300,000 tons of sugar at several warehouses in the southern Brazilian port of Santos Friday before it was contained, authorities said. Four people were injured in the blaze, which erupted in warehouses owned by Copersucar, the world's largest sugar trader, the Port of Santos said in a statement. "It has been brought under control," a spokesman told AFP. Santos port officials said the fire broke out in the conveyor belt system that links Copersucar's six warehouses, which have a capacity to hold up to 100,000 tons of sugar each.
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