Pacific Ethanol to start up Burley plant

By Craig A. Johnson | November 11, 2009
Report posted Dec. 2, 2009, at 8:49 a.m. CST

California-based Pacific Ethanol Inc. has filed documents in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware for permission to reopen the company's 60 MMgy plant in Burley, Idaho. A hearing is set for Dec 14.

According to Pacific Ethanol, falling feedstock costs and imminent legislation that would increase the ethanol blend in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent make production sustainable. The company intends to restart the plant in 2010.

In addition, allowing the plant to operate will allow Pacific to pay creditors as they restructure their debt. The lenders providing debtor-in-possession financing for the Burley plant are expected to support Pacific's petition.

When the company filed for bankruptcy, its secured debt amounted to more than $270 million. Pacific Ethanol closed the plant in February 2009 citing high energy and feedstocks costs as the main reason the plant could not operate profitably. Pacific fEthanol iled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.

Pacific Ethanol's 40 MMgy plant in Boardman, Ore., is the company's only plant currently producing ethanol.