Marquis Energy to cut ethanol production rates at Wisconsin plant: CEO

Source: By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2019

(Reuters) – Marquis Energy will cut ethanol production rates at its 100 million gallons-per-year plant in Necedah, Wisconsin, Chief Executive Officer Mark Marquis told Reuters on Tuesday, the latest company to announce output cuts amid weaker margins.

The company will continue to run its 400 million gallons-per-year Hennepin, Illinois, plant at full production, he added.

The move comes after President Donald Trump’s administration this month decided to grant exemptions from the nation’s biofuel laws to 31 refineries. The decision infuriated ethanol producers who blamed the Trump administration for bailing out the oil industry while U.S. farmers are suffering due to trade tariffs and low prices.

“When we heard they issued 31 SREs (Small Refinery Exemptions )… it just devastated the industry,” Marquis said.

The nation’s largest ethanol producer, POET, announced on Tuesday it was cutting production at its plants, blaming the waivers for the move.

Biofuel supplier World Energy announced last week that the company will stop production and furlough employees at facilities in Georgia, Mississippi and Pennsylvania because of the SRE decision.

The EPA said in a statement on Tuesday there was “zero evidence” that the refinery waivers have hurt demand for ethanol, which biofuels producers dispute.

Refining margins to produce ethanol in the Corn Belt are negative, falling on Tuesday to $-0.04 a gallon, below last year’s level of $0.04 a gallon for this time of year, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis