The European Biodiesel Board shed light on a very delicate case related to biodiesel export. More than a year of unfair low-priced biodiesel exports from Poland are causing serious damages to the EU internal market of renewable fuels and to fuels operators in many countries.

Notwithstanding the industry’s alerts to national and EU authorities, the export trend affecting the European markets has not yet stopped. In fact, it is increasing.

The Polish fuel market players, deliberately exploiting a loophole of Polish biofuels legislation, have been causing – for more than a year – significant financial damage to the biodiesel production chains in various EU countries. The list includes Romania, first, and also the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and France among others.

In Poland, the accounting of a given biodiesel volume towards the national blending mandate is based on a simple invoice of purchase by the fuel distributor. As Polish law does not explicitly require the biodiesel accounted towards the blending mandate to be consumed within its boundaries, some Polish operators have been capitalising on the export of under-priced biodiesel, that has already been declared as blended.

Consequently, a large part of biodiesel volumes is counted towards EU national blending mandates twice, a first time – falsely – in Poland and then – at an unfair dumped price – in any other EU country.

According to the European Biodiesel Board (EBB), an increasing number of EU stakeholders – from farmers through oilseed producers and crushers, to biodiesel producers – are experiencing economic loss and very negative impacts on their businesses. The Polish legislative loophole creates significant distortions by decreasing the overall profitability of local biodiesel producers, prompting job loss along the chain, curbing the progress in local energy and protein independence, and impacting the revenues of farmers and PMEs.

Industry sources contacted by New Europe explained: “EBB intends to express once again its strong concern about this unfair and illegal situation that remains unchallenged by EU or national competent authorities. We believe that EU authorities cannot accept anymore that European renewable legislation is infringed in a so open and wide scale dimension by an EU member state and, worse, that an unfair implementation of EU Renewable Energy Directive is taken as a basis for unfair traffics in the EU. Our Industrial Association has confirmed a clear-cut position against such unfair traffics proceeding to the expulsion of an EBB member company being directly involved with the traffic and refusing to co-operate to fight against such unfair behaviours. In this context our association also urges Polish national authorities to tackle the described problem, which casts a severe shadow on the concrete fulfilling of EU renewable mandates by Poland. The EBB has been collaborating on tackling this issue with several industry players, including sustainability certification systems, and is definitively determined to re-establish legality and fair trade on the EU biodiesel market.”

Speaking to New Europe, EBB’s President, Alain Brinon, explained: “The EBB is deeply concerned by such a flagrant breach of the EU law and principles, and is highly committed to stopping the flow of Polish biodiesel, which is highly disruptive and noxious to the integrity and competitiveness of the EU biodiesel market. We will actively strive to identify the source of the problem, as well as find effective solutions that will keep the EU internal market for biodiesel united and functioning at a level playing field again.”

As underlined in the 2016 annual report of the Polish Oil Industry and Trade Organisation (POPiHN), sales of B100 fuel are estimated at about 730,000 m3. This means sales volume of B100 doubled in comparison to the previous year, even though, which is worth noting, this type of fuel was practically unavailable in retail trade. Its vast majority was sent outside Poland.