Business Briefs

Business announcements from the January issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine, including the NCGA's 2021 committees, a proposed LCFS in Minnesota, Pacific Ethanol's transition away from fuel alcohol, and Husky Energy's merger with Cenovus in Canada.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | November 27, 2020

NCGA names 2021 action committee leaders

The National Corn Growers Association has announced the incoming farmer volunteers appointed to its 2021 action teams. The NCGA’s Ethanol Action Team will include Mark Recker, chair; J.R. Roesner, vice chair; and Gary Porter, board liaison. Its Market Development Action Team will include Robert Hemesath, chair; Troy Schneider, vice chair; and Tom Haag, board liaison. And its Production Technology Access Action Team will include Kate Danner, chair; Patty Mann, vice chair; and Dennis Maple, board liaison.

These and other NCGA action teams and committees will have their first set of meetings in St. Louis in January. A full list of the organization’s groups and members can be found online at


Minnesota biofuels council recommends LCFS

The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Biofuels has published its consensus report on steps needed to grow Minnesota’s biofuels industry, including the swift creation of a Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

In early 2020, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz charged the 15-member council to recommend policies to accelerate achievement of the state’s biofuels and greenhouse gas reduction goals. The council, with support from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, recommended accelerating the state’s move toward E15; adopting an LCFS; increasing biofuels use in the state fleet; increasing public understanding and marketing of biofuels; and developing advanced biofuels.

Minnesota adopted a statutory goal in 2007 to replace 30 percent of the state’s petroleum use with biofuels by 2025. The state is currently not on track to meet that target.


Pacific Ethanol moves away from fuel ethanol

Pacific Ethanol Inc. is continuing its planned transition out of fuel ethanol production and into specialty alcohols and specialty ingredients. The company intends to sell or repurpose three of its idled West Coast ethanol plants and change its corporate name.

Mike Kandris, CEO of Pacific Ethanol, said the company will continue to participate in the fuel ethanol market, but not as a primary focus. The company began transitioning away from fuel ethanol earlier this year and has now shifted 50 percent of its online capacity to specialty alcohols, which made up 45 percent of its revenues during the first nine months of 2020.

Pacific Ethanol idled its ethanol plants in Idaho and California during the pandemic, keeping production online in Oregon and Illinois. 


Husky ethanol plants included in Canadian merger

Husky Energy Inc.’s two Canadian ethanol plants will soon be under new ownership following the company’s planned merger with Cenovus Energy Inc.

In late October, Cenovus and Husky announced a transaction to create a new integrated Canadian oil and natural gas company. The company will operate as Cenovus and remain headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. The companies said they have entered into a definitive arrangement under which Cenovus and Husky will combine in an all-stock transaction valued at $23.6 billion (CAN), inclusive of debt. The deal is expected to close in early 2021.  

The transaction will include Husky’s two ethanol plants, located in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, and Minnedosa, Manitoba. Each facility has an annual production capacity of 34 MMgy.