The negative effects that the coronavirus pandemic is having on the economy also open small opportunities.
In an attempt to offset part of the drop in sales to the domestic market, where fuel demand fell 80 percent, the Cordovan company ACA Bio, producer and supplier of corn ethanol for the mandatory cut with naphtha in the domestic market , carried out a foreign trade operation.
This is the shipment to Brazil of 8 million liters of corn ethanol produced in the province.
The volume sent by the company located in Villa María consisted of 4.5 million own liters and 3.5 million purchased from Promaíz, the plant that AGD and Bunge have in partnership in the town of Alejandro Roca (department Juárez Celman), as they specified from ACA.
The recipient of the fuel was Raizen, the Brazilian subsidiary of Shell, which will use it for blending with its gasoline in the domestic market.
Unlike Argentina, where the mandatory cut of naphtha with ethanol is 12 percent, in Brazil the mixture reaches 27.5 percent.
The value of the operation ?: around 4.1 million dollars; at an FOB price of $ 520 per cubic meter (one cubic meter equals one thousand liters).
In recent days, and due to the quarantine established for the control of the coronavirus, the internal demand for fuels has decreased considerably. In the gasoline market, they maintain that it reaches up to 70 percent. “In the same proportion the demand for ethanol has fallen, for which it is necessary to look for export businesses to maintain the industrial flow,” they assure from the producing industry.
The export of bioethanol is an option that the plants have that provide, with a quota assigned by the State, renewable fuel to the local market, to the extent that they guarantee this compulsory supply.
Corn ethanol production has Córdoba as its main contributor. During the past year, the three plants located in the province (Aca Bio in Villa María, Promaíz in Alejandro Roca, and Bio 4, in Río Cuarto) produced 369 million liters of ethanol, out of a national total of 558 million liters.
Corn ethanol production in Cordoba last year represented 66 percent of the national total for cereal derivatives.
If one takes into account that the sugar industry contributes another similar volume, from the alcohol of sugar, of the 1,077 million liters of ethanol produced in the country last year, Córdoba participated with 34 percent of the total.
In addition to the three Cordoba plants, there are establishments that produce it in San Luis (Villa Mercedes) and Santa Fe (Avellaneda).
In total they have an industrial capacity to process around 600 million liters, and currently have an idle capacity of 270 million liters: 45 percent of the total.
As a contribution to the coronavirus, the sector donated 150 thousand liters of alcohol to different private and public entities in Córdoba, San Luis, and Santa Fe, for their subsequent rectification to produce alcohol gel or disinfection / sanitization products.