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Poor market conditions delay Columbia Pacific ethanol production

A redeveloped Columbia Pacific  ethanol plant has delayed production due to being confronted with what it calls ‘declining market conditions’.

Columbia Pacific had hoped to begin ethanol production in February but have now taken the decision to wait out a combined slump in ethanol price while corn feedstock price remains high.

General plant manager Dan Luckett was quoted as saying: ‘A lot of plants are currently breaking even at best. US analysts believe the fourth quarter will turn out well, so we are hoping to start up around October.’

Around 50 employees have been laid off due to the decision to delay production, but Luckett has said the plant will look to recall most of them once it becomes online. The company believed ‘the storm would last six to 12 weeks, but we’re now looking at six months’.

Columbia Pacific will now work on maintaining the facility and potentially make minor upgrades. The facility, previously known as Cascade Grain following a $200 million (€158.4 million) overhaul in 2008, can produce around 120 million gallons of ethanol per year.