VeraSun postpones start-up at third plant

By Anna Austin | June 02, 2008
Web exclusive posted June 30, 2008 at 12:03 p.m. CST

VeraSun Energy Corp. announced June 25 it was delaying the start-up operations of its ethanol plant in Hankinson, N.D. The construction on the plant is nearly complete. This is the third new 110 MMgy plant that VeraSun Energy has put on hold this month. The Brookings, S.D., based company also has put on hold starting its Welcome, Minn., and Hartley, Iowa, plants—which were scheduled to begin production at the end of June.

VeraSun Chief Executive Officer Don Endres said the significant reason for the delays is that ethanol is currently being sold at a deep discount when compared to unleaded gasoline. "Given the current volatility in the market, we believe that delaying all three of these startups is the prudent decision for the long-term benefit of our company and shareholders," Endres said, adding that once the outlook for ethanol selling prices and overall margins improve, the plants would commence production. "With oil prices hovering around record levels, there is a tremendous urgency for domestically produced fuel options in our country," he said. "Ethanol is a solution that is available today and will continue to have a strategic impact on diversifying our energy needs."

VeraSun is continuing construction on two additional 110 MMgy plants located in Dryersville, Iowa, and Janesville, Minn.