March 18 Leading ethanol maker Valero Energy
Corp has restarted its ethanol plant in Ohio and will
resume operations at their only remaining offline facility in
Indiana in the coming weeks, a company spokesman said on Monday.
"Margins have improved where the plants can be operated at a
profitable level," Valero's spokesman Bill Day said.
Corn futures have plunged 16 percent from a
record-high of $8.49 per bushel in August at the Chicago Board
of Trade. The punishing costs reduced demand for the main
feedstock for ethanol produced in the United States, but ethanol
futures are trading at $2.61 per gallon, near the highest
levels since August.
The worst drought in five decades last summer that pushed up
grain prices led to shutdowns of at least 20 of the 211 U.S.
ethanol plants, marking the first year of lower production of
the biofuel in more than 30 years, according to the Renewable
Valero idled three of their 10 plants in June. Operations
resumed at the facility in Bloomingburg, Ohio, at the beginning
of March while the plant in Linden, Indiana, will restart
production within the next couple of weeks, Day said.
The company's plant in Albion, Nebraska, was restarted last
month. Each of the three plants has an annual capacity of 110
million gallons of ethanol.
Valero is the third largest U.S. ethanol producer, behind
No. 1 maker Archer Daniels Midland Co and privately-held