Neste to build biodiesel plant in Netherlands
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland's Neste Oil Corp (NES1V.HE) will build a biodiesel plant, its fourth such plant investment so far, in the Dutch city of Rotterdam to meet growing demand for biofuels, the company said on Friday.
The plant will cost about 670 million euros ($1 billion) and will have an annual capacity of 800,000 tonnes. Construction will begin immediately and is due for completion in 2011.
Neste, which aims to become the world's leading producer of renewable diesel fuel, already has one 170,000 tonnes per year plant producing its proprietary biodiesel NExBTL operating in Porvoo, southern Finland, and it is building a second similar one next to it, due to be ready next year.
In November, Neste announced a 550 million euro investment to build an 800,000 tonne a year biodiesel plant in Singapore and it has said it was considering other plants.
The Finnish refiner said it would use the same partners for the Netherlands project as in Singapore and that Technip's (TECF.PA) Italian unit would be the main contractor. Air Liquide (AIRP.PA) will supply the hydrogen required for the process, Neste said.
"Rotterdam is Europe's largest centre of petroleum products and chemicals production, and offers a wide range of dedicated services, as well as port facilities -- all of which makes Rotterdam an ideal location for a NExBTL plant," Neste's Chief Executive Risto Rinne said in a statement.
NExBTL is one of the strategic cornerstones for Neste, which says the technology outperforms both existing biodiesel (FAME) products and crude oil-delivered diesel products available.
The company has said producers of the first-generation FAME biodiesel have been suffering from high and volatile feedstock prices, overcapacity and quality problems but that demand for Neste's NExBTL has remained strong.
Biodiesel is made from palm oil, vegetable oils and animal fats, and while controversy has grown recently over using foods to replace fossil fuels as an energy source, advocates promote it as a greener alternative.
Neste's technology can use various raw materials, and Neste said its ongoing research and development program to come up with new renewable raw materials targets totally non-food raw material use at Neste's biodiesel plants by 2020.
(Reporting by Sami Torma; Editing by Will Waterman and David Holmes)
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