Valero Restarts Idled Ethanol Plants

Source: By OWEN FLETCHER, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013

CHICAGO–Valero Energy Corp. soon will have all 10 of its ethanol plants online and operating “at or close to capacity,” after it idled three of them last year due to low or negative margins.

Valero restarted its plant in Albion, Neb., around the start of the year. Its Bloomingburg, Ohio, plant restarted at the beginning of March, and the company expects to restart its Linden, Ind., plant in the next week or so, company spokesman Bill Day said Monday.

According to the company’s website, the 10 plants have a total capacity of about 1.11 billion gallons of ethanol a year.

“Corn prices have moderated somewhat and ethanol prices have kept pace,” improving margins at the plants, he said.

In 2012, corn futures prices touched a nominal all-time closing high of $8.3125 a bushel, but this year prices have been trading between $6.8025 and $7.4125 on the Chicago Board of Trade. Ethanol futures prices have climbed 20% this year.

Local corn shortages have challenged various ethanol producers since severe drought last year sharply cut the size of the U.S. corn harvest.