Green Plains export-import terminal in Beaumont, Texas
By Chris Prentice
NEW YORK, June 14 (Reuters) – Green Plains Inc said on Tuesday it plans to build and operate its first export-import fuels terminal in Beaumont, Texas, the latest in a string of expansion moves by the country’s fourth-largest ethanol producer.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based company has formed a joint venture with Jefferson Gulf Coast Energy Partners at Jefferson’s existing Beaumont operation on a terminal expected to cost $55 million in its first phase of construction, the companies said in a joint statement.
The move comes as Green Plains eyes a growing overseas and domestic market.
“As demand for the products we produce continues to grow both globally and domestically,” said Green Plains’ President and Chief Executive Todd Becker in the statement.
The company’s spending spree comes even as rivals retreat due to crunched margins and excess inventories.
Abengoa SA put its U.S. bioenergy unit into bankruptcy as the parent company battles a liquidity crisis. Ethanol pioneer Archer Daniels Midland Co has sold its Brazil mill and is looking at options for its dry-mill plants in the United States.
Green Plains has offered $200 million to buy two plants from Abengoa and scooped up two ethanol plants in Virginia and Texas in November last year.
In February, as the industry struggled through one of its worst quarters in years, Becker said the company was still eyeing acquisitions despite the weak margins.
Since then, ethanol prices have rallied to 18-month highs on expectations that strong U.S. driving rates will fuel demand for biofuels, drawing down a big surplus even as soaring corn prices eat into margins.
If the bids for the Abengoa assets are successful, Green Plains’ capacity would rise to 1.4 billion gallons annually, putting it on par with Valero Energy Corp, a spokesman said.
The company also has a master limited partnership through which it announced plans in November 2015 to build an ethanol terminal in Arkansas.
(Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Bill Rigby)