Abengoa Shuts Output at Nebraska Ethanol Mills on Margins

Abengoa SA, a Spanish engineering and renewable energy company, temporarily idled output at ethanol mills in York and Ravenna, Nebraska, until market conditions improve.

The Ravenna plant has the capacity to produce 88 million gallons of ethanol annually, while the one in York can manufacture 55 million, Christopher Standlee, a spokesman for the company, said today in an e-mail.

“We will maintain a ready mode for quick restart when market conditions improve, but have no definite restart date at this time,” Standlee said in an e-mail.

Denatured ethanol for February delivery fell 0.8 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $2.335 a gallon at 10:59 a.m. local time on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices have gained 10 percent in the past year.

Stockpiles of the biofuel jumped 2.6 percent to 20.4 million barrels in the period ended Jan. 11, the highest level in four weeks, data from the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration showed today.

Corn for March delivery slipped 4.5 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $7.265 a bushel in Chicago. Prices have jumped 21 percent in the past year. One bushel of the grain makes at least 2.75 gallons of ethanol.

Corn Stockpiles

A Jan. 11 Agriculture Department report showed corn stockpiles in the U.S. on Dec. 1 were 8.03 billion bushels, 17 percent less than a year earlier and the lowest in nine years for that date. The grain is the primary feedstock used to make ethanol in the country.

Based on March contracts for corn and ethanol, producers are losing 29 cents on each gallon of the fuel made, down from 30 cents yesterday, according to data collected by Bloomberg. The figures exclude the revenue that can be made from the sale of dried distillers’ grains, a byproduct of ethanol production that can be fed to livestock.

A U.S. Energy Information Administration report today showed ethanol production in the U.S. last week fell to 784,000 barrels a day, the lowest level since the Energy Department’s analytical arm began tracking weekly data in June 2010.

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