Valero restarts Neb. plant, cites improved margins

By Erin Voegele | February 15, 2013

Valero Energy Corp. has resumed operations at its 120 MMgy ethanol plant in Albion, Neb. “We restarted the Albion ethanol plant in the first week of February, after margins improved to the point where the plant could run profitably,” said Bill Day, executive director of media relations at Valero. The plant had been idled in mid-2012 for economic reasons.

With Albion resuming operations, only two of Valero’s 10 ethanol plants remain idle.

According to Day, the Valero makes the decision to idle or restart facilities on a plant-by-plant basis. One factor is the price of corn. Corn prices in Albion, he said, had been slightly higher than average. He also noted that the facility has some transportation costs it must contend with, but also features several advantages.  “It’s a large plant,” he said, noting that it’s also a modern, efficient facility that is very low cost to operate. “The margin doesn’t have to be real big for it to be able to run [profitably],” Day continued. The facility is currently running at near nameplate capacity.

Day also said that Valero hopes to bring its two remaining idle plants online soon, once margins in those areas improved to the point where those plants can operate profitably.