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Posted on  

June 17, 2002

SHELL DECISION TO SWITCH FROM MTBE TO ETHANOL IN CALIFORNIA WILL PROTECT AIR, WATER AND CONSUMERS

WASHINGTON, DC -Shell Oil Products US announced today it will discontinue the use of MTBE in its gasoline supplied to California consumers by the end of 2002. The company will replace MTBE with ethanol, which does not pose a threat to the state’s drinking water supply. Shell, the state’s second largest gasoline marketer, joins California’s largest gasoline marketer, BP, in committing to be MTBE free by the end of this year. Phillips Petroleum already blends more than 80 percent of its gasoline in California with ethanol.

“We applaud Shell for their commitment to protecting California’s drinking water by ending the use of MTBE and embracing clean, renewable ethanol as the alternative,” said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association. “I believe California consumers will reward oil companies like Shell that make an early switch away from MTBE.”

By switching from MTBE to ethanol by the end of 2002, Shell will beat California’s official MTBE ban deadline by one year. Although originally scheduled for December 31, 2002, Governor Gray Davis earlier this year delayed the ban deadline until the end of 2003.

“Shell is obviously as confident about the ethanol industry’s ability to supply their needs as we are,” said Dinneen. “In addition to being a refiner and marketer in California, Shell also operates a major pipeline and terminal operation. In a presentation to the National Ethanol Conference in March, Shell outlined how ethanol could be supplied to California this year and now they’re proving it. This is further evidence that any oil company that wants to stop using MTBE this year can - all it takes is real commitment.”

Shell accounts for roughly 18 percent of all gasoline in California, making them the second largest marketer. Their switch will create a market for an estimated 150 to 200 million gallons of ethanol. According to California State Board of Equalization figures, BP, Shell and Phillips together account for approximately 55 percent of total gasoline sales in California.

“This is great news for farmers across the country who invested in ethanol plants to service California,” concluded Dinneen. “Importantly, as more California gasoline marketers switch to ethanol it will encourage ethanol production in the state as well.”
 

 

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