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Chevron Turns to Latin America to Feed US Green Fuel Plans

(Bloomberg) —

Chevron Corp. is planning to source feedstocks including animal fat from Latin America to feed its US renewable diesel plans, according to the oil giant’s renewable energy head.

“The industry in Latin America is not really developed yet, but I can see that happening,” Kevin Lucke, president of Chevron Renewable Energy Group, said Tuesday in an interview at a conference in Sao Paulo. He cited changes in the US — where biofuel growth caused the nascent used-cooking oil industry to develop — as an example of what he expects in Latin America.

Chevron already imports some biofuel feedstocks from the region, but Lucke said he sees the opportunity to import more materials such as used cooking oil, animal fat and distillers corn oil, which is derived from production of corn-based ethanol. The company is also looking at other crops like canola and camelina for oil. Chevron would be less likely to source soybeans from Brazil, though, he added.

Lucke said he believes the US “will continue to back down” from exporting soybeans — another key feedstock — due to increasing domestic demand. Growth in US biofuels has helped drive up American consumption, limiting soybean exports and giving Brazil the leading position as the world’s biggest soy supplier.

Chevron is moving ahead with its goal of reaching 100,000 barrels a day of renewable fuels production by 2030. More output will come online next year following the roughly $1 billion expansion of a biorefinery in Geismar, Louisiana that will lift output capacity above 50,000 barrels a day, Lucke said.

While Chevron’s focus is on renewable diesel and biodiesel, Lucke sees sustainable aviation fuel and renewable natural gas as avenues of growth with biofuel demand being boosted by governments, public policy and environmental targets of private companies.

“It is going to take all different types of energy to achieve greenhouse gas emission goals that folks have,” he said. 

(Adds capacity expansion details from fifth paragraph.)

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