Spain's Abengoa idles US ethanol plant on low margins

03 October 2012 17:05  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Abengoa has temporarily idled its Illinois, US, ethanol plant as a result of low production margins and the need to carry out maintenance, the Spanish bioenergy company said on Wednesday.

The price of corn, the key feedstock in US ethanol production, have risen sharply over the summer as a result of the drought, with corn futures for December at $7.58/bushel (€5.84/bushel) on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as of Tuesday's close, compared with around $5.60/bushel in mid-June.

The idle is likely to be short-term, with the timing driven by the current margin pressure, according to Chris Standlee, executive vice president of Abengoa Bioenergy US, although he declined to give a timeframe for the plant to restart.

He said: “Every ethanol plant has certain maintenance tasks that require shutdown, so we chose this time of relatively low margins to perform those tasks.

“It’s our expectation that this will be very short term and we will start the plant up again in the near future,” he added.

Based in Madison, the plant produces 88m gallons of ethanol/year.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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