Ethanol Maker Ensus to Restart Output After 15-Month Halt

Ensus Ltd., a U.K. producer of ethanol from wheat, is planning to restart production at its plant in Teesside, England, after a 15-month halt, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

The plant, Europe’s largest biorefinery, will reopen later this month, the Yarm, England-based company said today. U.K. biofuel has become more price competitive since the European Union tightened regulations on foreign imports, improving profit prospects for the plant, the company said. Market conditions also have improved since the U.S. ended an ethanol subsidy last year, Ensus said. The plant has capacity to convert 1 million metric tons of feed-grade wheat into ethanol annually.

“Everyone is absolutely delighted that things are moving in the right direction once again and we are in a position to restart,” Peter Sopp, chief executive officer of the company, said in the statement. “It has been a very difficult time for everyone connected with the business.”

The plant, which has about 100 employees, expects to be fully operational within the next two months, according to the statement. Ensus can produce about 400 million liters (106 million gallons) of ethanol annually and is a supplier to Shell Oil Co. It gets wheat from Glencore International Plc and yields about 350,000 tons of livestock feed a year from ethanol byproducts, according to the company’s website.

Denatured ethanol futures have climbed 24 percent since the end of May on the Chicago Board of Trade as the worst U.S. drought in 50 years damaged crops in the Midwest. In the U.S., ethanol is mostly made from corn and is blended with gasoline. In London, feed wheat futures gained 0.8 percent to 196 pounds ($308) a ton today on NYSE Liffe. The most-active contract is up 14 percent since May 31.

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