In an interview with Reuters, the head of agricultural development for oil company Total flatly stated that Europe needs more biodiesel production rather than competing alternative fuel ethanol, saying "The European market definitely is, and for a long time will be, a diesel market."

Europe is a net importer of diesel, mostly from Russia, but an exporter of gasoline, much of which goes to the U.S. This year, diesel is forecast to surpass gasoline as the primary fuel for new European passenger vehicles. This lessens the potential impact of ethanol-gasoline blends as an alternative fuel.

The European Union has set targeted biofuels to provide 5.75 percent of transport fuels by 2010, but it's unlikely that Europe can economically grow enough biodiesel feedstock to come close to the target, making imports of oilseeds like rapeseed (pictured) inevitable.

Total is the world's fourth largest oil and gas company, and a European leader in biofuels. Among other initiatives, the company recently entered into a partnership with Finland's Neste Oil to develop a synthetic biodiesel refining capability.

[Sources: Reuters, Total]