Ukraine Crisis May Spur EU Clean-Energy Policies, Neste Oil Says

Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) — Europe’s concern about its reliance
on Russian fossil fuels may spur governments to prioritize
alternative energy, the head of Neste Oil Oyj said.

“In Europe we don’t have crude or gas resources, so we are
heavily dependent on other countries, such as Russia,” said
Chief Executive Officer Matti Lievonen, whose company makes
clean diesel and jet fuel from feedstocks such as vegetable oils
and animal fats. “I really hope that the Russia-Ukraine
situation is a strong element in the politicians’ decision-making around the setting of mandates.”

The U.S. and European Union have imposed sanctions against
Russia over its alleged involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.
Europe is trying to ease its dependence on Russia, which
supplied almost one-third of its crude oil and natural gas in
2012 and a quarter of its solid fuels, according to European
Commission statistics.

Politicians in Europe need to set more long-term mandates
to encourage the use of alternative fuels that cut carbon
emissions and reduce the region’s reliance on imports, Lievonen
said. While Europe has proposed a 27 percent renewable-energy
target for 2030, it hasn’t set a specific goal for biofuels,
such as those manufactured by Neste Oil, past the turn of the
decade.

The Finnish refiner can produce renewable diesel from as
many as 11 different feedstocks and it’s experimenting with
using others that include algae. The company invested about 1.5
billion euros ($1.9 billion) in renewable diesel over the past
five years and produces about 2 million metric tons annually
from its units in Finland, Rotterdam and Singapore.

Supply Security

“Geopolitical risk is going to play a much bigger role
around setting energy policy,” said Ben Warren, environmental
finance leader in the U.K. and Ireland at the consulting company
EY. “The agenda isn’t just decarbonization. It’s security of
supply, business interruption, price volatility and risk
management.”

The situation in Russia helps to “shine the spotlight” on
the rationale behind the development of a low-carbon future,
Warren said. “The bio-energy, biofuels and renewable-energy
markets are all about providing independence and security. This
is a timely reminder for all the wrong reasons.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Louise Downing in London at
ldowning4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Alex Devine, Ana Monteiro

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