VeraSun delays commissioning of Minnesota, Iowa plants

By Susanne Retka Schill | June 02, 2008
Web exclusive posted June 23, 2008 at 12:02 a.m. CST

VeraSun Energy Corp. has put the commissioning of its Welcome, Minn., and Hartley, Iowa, plants on hold. Both are nearing completion and were scheduled to start up in June, said Mike Lockrem, VeraSun corporate communications manager. "We'll monitor market conditions on a daily basis, and once the market is more favorable, we'll be bringing them on line," he said. Construction of both 110 MMgy plants started in November 2006.

"We will continue on our construction schedules with the three plants currently under construction," Lockrem added. The three 110 MMgy plants are located at Dryersville, Iowa, Hankinson, N.D., and Janesville, Minn. Construction at a fourth plant in Reynolds, Ind., was suspended in October 2007.

VeraSun has 11 plants in operation with an annual total capacity of 1.1 billion gallons. "We're very optimistic and bullish about ethanol," Lockrem said. "We're confident market conditions will become more favorable and we'll be getting these two plants into production. What we are doing is good for America."

Heavy rains in early June threatened Iowa's young crops and caused wide-spread flooding with roads and railroads closed. "We've been able to keep plants in operation in flooded areas in Iowa, and we've been able to move product," Lockrem said. Severe flooding around Charles City, Iowa, however, may have a negative impact on the area's corn crop.