Production of biofuels in Mozambique ‘something to forget’

Falling oil prices mean it is no longer viable to produce biofuels in Mozambique, according to an official with the country’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy.

In an interview with the Mozambican newspaper O País, the ministry’s deputy national director of Hydrocarbons and Energy, Almirante Dima, described the production of biofuels from jatropha as “something to forget”.

According to O País, Dima justified his claim based on the fact it is more expensive to produce biodiesel than it is conventional gasoline and diesel.

Since the 2000s, Jatropha has been used as an oil crop for the production of biodiesel. Mozambique’s government created a scheme to encourage the planting of the crop for biodiesel production, as a means to reduce the dependency on foreign imports of fossil fuels. Jatropha can be grown throughout Mozambique.

At that time, the cost of oil was so high it made economic sense to produce liquid fuels from other sources. However, Dima argues that falling oil prices mean that is no longer the case.

Mozambique had been scheduled to make it compulsory for all fossil fuels to be mixed with biofuels. However, the global economic crisis meant that scheme never went ahead.