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Coskata urges Thai government to have clear ethanol policy

Illinois-based Biofuel company Coskata Inc. said the Thai government should have a clear-cut policy on gasohol investment in order to make the country as the ethanol-manufacturing hub for Asia. After meeting with the firm’s executives, Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot said Coskata wanted to see Thailand rich in fuel crops and an ethanol production base for E85 vehicles. For instance, the company could produce ethanol at a competitive price, without any subsidy, when the oil price stood at 2,477 baht (US$70) per barrel. “It would take three to four years to achieve the break-even point,” Bolsen said. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu has ordered an immediate suspension of corn bidding by the government, fearing heavy losses and the vagueness of the bidding procedure. He called for the government’s sub-committee on corn releasing to reconsider recent bidding results. The price offered by the three winners was quoted at between 3.50 to 7.00baht (US$0.10 to 0.20) per kg, and an average of 4 baht (US$0.11) per kilogram. However, Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said the government must shoulder the loss, as the high guarantee price resulted from the previous government’s policy. (April 6, 2009)