REG Finishes Upgrades to Iowa Biodiesel Plant

reg-logoRenewable Energy Group has finished upgrades to its Newton, Iowa biorefinery. This company news release says the 30-million gallon nameplate plant in Newton, Iowa, will produce an even higher purity biomass-based diesel from a wider variety of raw materials.

“Enhancing REG Newton’s distillation and processing capabilities strengthens our lower-cost, multi-feedstock biomass-based diesel business and provides customers with more fuel options both in the Midwest and nationwide,” said Daniel J. Oh, REG President and CEO. “This plant was already a high performing facility that deserved additional investment and I am confident the return on investment will be rapid.”

The project provides Newton with production capabilities similar to those at the REG Albert Lea biorefinery. The upgraded process, including distillation, removes impurities and leaves behind a very pure form of biomass-based diesel. The final product far exceeds industry quality standards, while meeting REG’s more rigorous REG-9000™ specifications. The fuel also performs better in colder temperatures.

“These improvements allow REG Newton to provide customers with the highest quality end product at a full 30 million gallons a year utilization rate for a wide array of raw materials, including inedible corn oil,” said Brad Albin, REG Vice President, Manufacturing. “This increased feedstock flexibility drives demand for local feedstock suppliers, enabling them to keep their products in the region.”

REG broke ground on the $13.2 million project last February and completed it just last month, four months ahead of schedule and on budget.

REG now has 10 operational biorefineries in six states, making the company the North American leader in advanced biofuel production.

REG Buys Germany’s Petrotec AG Biodiesel

reg-logoIowa-based Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) is expanding into Europe with its majority ownership buy of Germany’s Petrotec AG Biodiesel. This REG news release says deal is expected to be closed by the end of this month.

ICG, Israel Corporation’s vehicle for investing in the alternative energy market, today formally accepted an offer from REG European Holdings B.V. to purchase ICG’s 69 percent equity ownership in Petrotec AG for US $20.9 million, or US $1.235 per share, to be paid in newly issued REG shares valued at the 30 trading day volume-weighted average for the day prior to signing. The REG subsidiary will also purchase ICG’s loan to Petrotec AG in the amount of approximately US $15.4 million. In the next several weeks, REG European Holdings B.V. intends to make a cash tender offer for all other Petrotec shares at a price no less than the value per share to be received by ICG.

“REG’s investment in Petrotec is a natural extension of our business strategy which should enable us to better capture value from international trade flows and to participate in European biofuel markets,” said Daniel J. Oh, REG President and CEO. “Petrotec’s people, culture, business model and technology are similar to ours at REG. We look forward to working with the Petrotec team as REG expands its business into Europe and further delivers the key benefits of our international industry: energy security and diversity, environmental stewardship and food security.”

Petrotec collects used cooking oil and other waste feedstocks from more than 15,000 points to produce biodiesel at its two biorefineries in Emden and Oeding, Germany, with a total nameplate production capacity of 55.5 million gallons per year.

REG Cuts Ribbon on Louisiana Renewable Diesel Plant

reg-logoIowa-based Renewable Energy Group celebrated this week the grand opening of its renewable diesel plant in Louisiana. This company news release says the Geismar biorefinery is now producing renewable hydrocarbon diesel (RHD) in commercial-scale quantities.

The event marked the successful start-up of the 75-million gallon nameplate capacity plant that REG acquired in June. Beginning production on October 14, REG Geismar, LLC has already produced more than 4.7 million gallons of renewable fuel. REG-9000™/RHD produced at the plant meet or exceed ASTM D975 standards.

“REG Geismar strengthens our core biomass-based diesel business, allowing us to further expand our product offering to our customers,” said Daniel J. Oh, REG President and CEO. “It reinforces our commitment to advanced biofuels and demonstrates our confidence in this market.”

The Geismar biorefinery, REG’s largest, is the company’s first plant to produce RHD using Bio-Synfining™ technology developed by REG Synthetic Fuels, LLC in Tulsa, Okla. The process converts a wide range of feedstocks, such as animal fat, inedible corn oil, used cooking oil and vegetable oils, into renewable fuel.

REG officials say their teams in Iowa, Louisiana and Oklahoma worked hard to get the plant online, producing near its nameplate capacity already.

REG Biodiesel Sales Up, But Revenues Down

reg-logoBiodiesel behemoth Renewable Energy Group (REG) reports an increase in the amount of biodiesel it sold, but revenues for the Iowa-based company are down. The latest financial report from REG shows the company sold 14.4 percent more gallons of biomass-based diesel, while revenues decreased by 16.2 percent and Adjusted EBITDA decreased by 77.7 percent.

“Our third quarter results reflect a very solid financial performance despite weak market conditions, while we worked to bring REG Geismar online and continued to invest in product development,” said Daniel J. Oh, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our traditional biodiesel business saw double digit volume growth of gallons sold and produced, compared to the third quarter of last year. The Mason City upgrades, which now allow that biorefinery to use lower cost feedstocks, were completed on time and within budget, and reflect our continued investment and focus on the biomass-based diesel business.”

REG officials say the revenue decline comes as the average sales price has been reduced and lower Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices, more than offsetting the approximately 14 percent increase in gallons sold. The average price per gallon of biodiesel sold during the third quarter was $3.54, nearly 30 percent lower than in the same quarter of 2013.

REG to Offer More Biodiesel Blends in NE and Midwest

reg-logoBiodiesel giant Renewable Energy Group is adding to the locations that will be selling its green fuel. This company news release says REG Energy Services will be offering additional biofuel blends in New York, Minnesota and Iowa.

REG Energy Services, LLC will offer ultra-low sulfur heating oil and diesel (ULSHO/ULSD) blended with up to 20 percent biodiesel at its New Hyde Park, NY terminal. In addition, ULSD blended with biodiesel will be offered at Minnesota terminals in Alexandria, Mankato, Roseville and Rochester and Iowa terminals in Mason City and Des Moines. This adds ULSD to REG’s existing biodiesel offerings at those locations.

This is the first time REG Energy Services will offer biodiesel fuel blends along the Magellan Midstream Partners terminal system in Iowa and Minnesota. Iowa has a 4.5 cent per gallon incentive for retailers utilizing blends of 5 percent and above. Minnesota has a B5 requirement in the winter when using ULSD and B10 during the summer months.

“This expansion of REG Energy Services provides further access to our fuel portfolio in the Northeast and Midwest markets where we will now offer biodiesel fuel blends in addition to REG-9000™ biodiesel,” said Gary Haer, REG Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “Biodiesel blended fuel provides a convenient solution that further improves REG’s ability to better meet our customers’ needs and growing demand, while enhancing America’s energy and food security, and our environment.”

Iowa-based REG now offers fuel at 34 locations across the US.

REG Sells First Gallons of Renewable Diesel from La. Plant

REGrenewdiesel1Biodiesel behemoth Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) rolled out the first commercial-scale quantities of renewable diesel from its Geismar, Louisiana biorefinery. This company news release says that fuel is now available for sale.

The first truckloads of REG-9000™/RHD produced at the 75-million gallon nameplate biorefinery since REG acquired it in June left the plant October 23. The advanced biofuel from REG Geismar, located south of Baton Rouge, meets or exceeds ASTM D975 specifications.

“We are pleased to be offering REG-9000/RHD for sale,” said Daniel J. Oh, REG President and CEO. “REG-9000/RHD is a new addition to our fuel product line-up designed to serve our customers’ needs for great fuel that also delivers towards our nation’s energy diversity, environmental and food security goals.”

Iowa-based REG is one of the nation’s biggest producers of biofuels, with 10 active biorefineries across the country and a developer of renewable chemicals.

REG Finishes Upgrade at 30 Mil Gallon Biodiesel Plant

REGmasoncityBiodiesel giant Renewable Energy Group will be able to crank out high quality biodiesel from a wide variety of raw materials at its Mason City, Iowa plant, thanks to a major upgrade to the 30 million gallon per year facility. This $20 million project has been a year in the making, and the ribbon cutting attracted several state and local government and business leaders.

The upgrades enable the Mason City biorefinery to utilize multiple raw materials, such as inedible corn oil, animal fats and greases, in addition to the refined vegetable oils the plant was originally designed to process. The upgrades were completed almost two months ahead of schedule and within budget.

“These upgrades further expand and strengthen our multi-feedstock business model, which allows REG to produce and deliver high-quality biomass-based diesel at an affordable price to growing regional and national markets,” said Daniel J. Oh, REG President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are well-positioned to meet growing demand in Iowa, with its retail incentive for advanced biofuels, and in Minnesota as it increases its use of higher biodiesel blends.”

REG also improved the existing front-end technology at the biorefinery that enables higher yields from free fatty acids in the production process.

“Enhancing the plant’s pretreatment and distillation capabilities will enable us to take a broader spectrum of lower-cost feedstocks and produce a high quality product,” said Brad Albin, REG Vice President, Manufacturing. “The increased feedstock flexibility helps drive greater demand for local feedstock suppliers and keeps more of their products in the Midwest.”

REG bought the Mason City biorefinery a year ago this past summer, reopening it just a few months later. The state and local governments kicked in about $2.5 million in incentives to make it a reality. REG completed a similar upgrade to another 30-million-gallon per year plant just up the road in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Sales Up But Revenues Down for Biodiesel’s REG

reg-logoBiodiesel behemoth Renewable Energy Group (REG) says while sales of its biomass-based diesel are up, revenues have fallen. The company released its second quarter 2014 financial results, showing REG sold 11 percent more biodiesel than the same time a year earlier. But revenues of $332.9 million are a decrease of 13 percent and an adjusted EBITDA decreased by 86 percent.

“Our second quarter results demonstrate the resilience of our business in the face of challenging market conditions,” said Daniel J. Oh, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe the industry has worked through the excess inventory from year-end and we have seen demand increase since the first quarter.”

Oh continued, “During second quarter, REG demonstrated its ability to operate an expanding business while also investing for future growth. On top of ramping up gallons sold 63% from first quarter, we executed a complex series of transactions in order to acquire Syntroleum and Dynamic Fuels. Integration of both are underway and we are excited about the new employees, technology and products added to REG. With these acquisitions, our total assets now exceed $1 billion.”

You can read more details of the report here.

REG Could Be Planning Illinois Biodiesel Plant Expansion

reg-logoBiodiesel behemoth Renewable Energy Group (REG) could be looking to expand one of its Illinois biodiesel plants. This article in the Champaign (IL) News-Gazette says REG is buying up lots around its Danville biodiesel plant, as well as asking city officials to vacate alleys and portions of streets around the facility and change the local zoning from residential to industrial. The city council last night unanimously reversed the city’s planning and zoning commission’s original denial of the request back in June.

“We don’t have a project plan that’s approved, but we do have thoughts to expand in the future, and we have thoughts of what we might want to do,” said Bruce Lutes, general manager of the Danville plant at 300 Anderson St., east of the city’s downtown. An approved plan, Lutes added, would be an approved capital project through REG, which has done some expansion at other plants.

“We have an idea of what we would like to do,” he said.

But Lutes would not disclose details about the company’s ideas for future expansion or whether an expansion would include a boost in biodiesel production. REG Danville currently has the capacity to produce 45 million gallons of biodiesel per year, and Lutes said the facility is close to that.

“We have some needs for this place, for space… We are very cramped… and sitting on a small footprint,” said Lutes, who added that the space needs are for additional storage, maintenance and office space. “And there could be other things, but we’re not at the point where we have any definite plans or a project.”

REG officials had characterized the earlier denial of the zoning change as “dumb.”

Iowa Congressman Visits Biodiesel Producers

braleyCongressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) visited the REG biodiesel plant in Mason City, Iowa on Friday to meet with members of the state’s biodiesel industry concerned about the proposed lowering of volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The current RFS proposal would set biodiesel volumes at 1.28 billion gallons, a sharp cut from last year’s actual production of nearly 1.8 billion gallons. “We’re grateful to Rep. Braley for his support on renewable fuels, and we’re asking for his help specifically in increasing the proposed biodiesel volume to at least 1.7 billion gallons,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

braley-biodiesel2A recent national survey of producers conducted by the National Biodiesel Board found that more than half have idled a plant this year and 78 percent have reduced production from last year. Nearly two-thirds have already laid off employees or anticipate doing so. “Iowa is the leading biodiesel state, which generates jobs and economic advancement,” Kimberly said. “The future of these promising businesses is threatened.”

Braley, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Tom Harkin promised that he will “continue to reach out with strong voice and talk about importance of biofuels for Iowa and nation.”

REG Completes Dynamic Fuels Acquisition

The largest U.S. biodiesel company Renewable Energy Group (REG) has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary REG Synthetic Fuels, LLC has completed its acquisition of the remaining 50 percent ownership interest in Dynamic Fuels, LLC. Dynamic Fuels was previously owned by Tyson Foods.

The new biodiesel facility will be known as REG Geismar, LLC and is a 75-million gallon renewable diesel biorefinery located in Geismar, Louisiana. The plant was formerly jointly owned by Tyson and Syntroleum and completed in 2010 as the first U.S-based large-scale renewable diesel biorefinery. The majority of the employees will stay on with REG Geismar.

REG Geismar LLCAs a result of last Tuesday’s closing of its purchase of substantially all of the assets of Syntroleum Corporation and the closing of this transaction with Tyson, REG now takes full ownership of Dynamic Fuels’ 75-million gallon nameplate capacity renewable diesel biorefinery.

“Closing these transactions enables our entry into the renewable diesel market in a significant way,” said Daniel J. Oh, Renewable Energy Group, Inc. president and chief executive officer. “We are excited about the opportunity to offer new products to our customers, while building on our core competencies in research, engineering, production, and distribution of advanced biofuels. We look forward to bringing the Geismar biorefinery online and work to do so has begun.”

REG paid Tyson approximately $16.5 million in cash at closing and retired approximately $13.5 million of Dynamic Fuels’ indebtedness to Tyson. REG has also agreed to make up to $35 million in future payments to Tyson tied to product volumes at the Geismar biorefinery over a period of up to eleven and a half years. REG intends to use proceeds from its recent $143,750,000 convertible senior notes offering to either replace the letter of credit that Tyson Foods obtained to support the biorefinery’s $100 million in Gulf Opportunity Zone Bonds, issued through the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority, or to redeem these bonds.

REG Completes Deal to Buy Renewable Diesel Plant

REGSyntIowa-based Renewable Energy has closed on the deal to buy all of the assets of a renewable diesel plant owner. REG was able to finalize the deal when a majority of Syntroleum shareholders voted to approve the asset sale to REG.

The assets acquired from Syntroleum include a 50% ownership interest in Dynamic Fuels, LLC, which owns a 75 million gallon per year nameplate capacity renewable diesel biorefinery located in Geismar, Louisiana. REG has a separate pending agreement with Tyson Foods, Inc. to acquire the remaining interests in Dynamic Fuels.

Most of the employees at Syntroleum’s Tulsa headquarters will join REG as part of the newly formed REG Synthetic Fuels.

“We are very pleased to bring new advanced biofuel technologies into the REG portfolio of products that will expand our biomass-based diesel business and launch us into new customer segments,” said Daniel J. Oh, Renewable Energy Group, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer. “We welcome the newest members of our team in Tulsa to REG Synthetic Fuels.”

REG owns and operates nine active biorefineries in five states and distributes biodiesel through a national network of distribution terminals.

Posted in REG

Biodiesel Maker REG Making $125 Mil Public Offering

reg-logoBiodiesel giant Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) intends to make a $125 million public offering. This company news release says proceeds will be used to help pay for its stake in a recently acquired renewable diesel plant in Louisiana.

REG intends to use approximately $100 million of the net proceeds from this offering to replace the letter of credit that guarantees the Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds issued in connection with the Dynamic Fuels, LLC biorefinery in Geismar, Louisiana or to redeem those bonds. REG has previously announced its agreements to acquire all of the equity interests in Dynamic Fuels from Syntroleum Corporation and Tyson Foods, Inc. REG also intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to fund the cost of the capped call transactions described below. REG intends to use the remaining net proceeds from this offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

The offering will be in the form of convertible senior notes due in 2019. Prior to December 15, 2018, the notes will be convertible only during certain periods and subject to certain circumstances, into cash, shares of REG common stock, or a combination of cash and shares of REG common stock, at REG’s election.

Biodiesel Producer Certain Uncertainty Will End

christjansenThe manager of a biodiesel refinery from the Nation’s largest biodiesel producer believes the uncertainty in the green fuel’s future will disappear. I caught up with Bryan Christjansen, a general manager for Renewable Energy Group’s Albert Lea, Minn. and Mason City, Iowa plants, shortly after a news conference where several biodiesel producers joined with a group of U.S. senators to decry the uncertainty brought by the government’s proposal to lower the amount of biodiesel to be mixed into the fuel supply and Congress’ failure to renew the $1-a-gallon federal biodiesel tax incentive.

“Some of the things happening here on Capitol Hill, as well as in the White House, are not good for our industry. We are here, and [Congress and the Administration] have helped us get to this point, and we need to continue to grow this industry through what you guys have created already,” he said.

While Bryan said that the current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal on the Renewable Fuels Standard is hurting the biodiesel industry by causing so much uncertainty, he is certain that will change.

“With this [news] conference and the open comment period with the EPA, I think we’ve voiced our opinion that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and what better way to do it than by producing biodiesel.”

You can hear my conversation with Bryan here: Bryan Christjansen, REG manager

And you can hear what he and other producers said here: Biodiesel Industry Concerns
And what the U.S. senators attending the news conference said here: Senators Voice Biodiesel Concerns

Biodiesel Producers, Farmers Take to The Hill

goergerBiodiesel producers and farmers who raise the feedstocks for the biodiesel industry took to Capitol Hill this week, joining a group of U.S. Senate Democrats in their calls to end policy uncertainty that is hurting their industry.

“The uncertainty caused by these policy setbacks in Washington, with this proposed retreat on biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and the expiration of the [$1-a-gallon federal biodiesel] tax incentive is threatening to unravel [the good built up by the biodiesel industry],” said Terry Goerger, a third generation farmer from Mantador, North Dakota. He added that this is especially hard on the industry that took cues from Congress and the Obama Administration and took the risk to try to build up biodiesel. “We feel like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the Administration is pulling the rug out from underneath us.”

christjansenBryan Christjansen, who manages Renewable Energy Group biodiesel plants in Albert Lea, Minn. and Mason City, Iowa, echoed those sentiments, saying his company believes in the long-term future of biodiesel but wonders if Washington does.

“If the Administration chooses to go with a short-sighted EPA proposal, it does not just put domestic fuel into jeopardy, but it also harms the local economies and billions of dollars in investments,” he said.

haasJeff Haas, CEO of General Biodiesel in Seattle, said that while his company, as well as much of the biodiesel industry, wants to invest and grow, not knowing what the EPA or Congress will do next makes the industry feel like it is just floating adrift.

“We’re nearly halfway through the year, and we still don’t know what the RFS volume will be or whether the biodiesel tax incentive will be reinstated,” adding that the industry relies on these policies for direction. “It’s analogous to setting off across the ocean without a compass for six months.”

Haas also said that some of the best and brightest in biodiesel are losing confidence and leaving the industry because of the uncertainty, and the delays are just wins for opponents of renewable energy.

presbyWayne Presby, owner of White Mountain Biodiesel in North Haverhill, N.H., said his company was founded on the Obama Administration’s stated desire to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gases, put more Americans to work, and increase our national security. But now, after investing millions in his plant alone, as well as hiring workers and buying supplies for a fledgling business in a community that desperately needed it, and making a successful biodiesel production facility, they can’t expand and grow that business because of the uncertainty in biodiesel policy.

“The industry is constantly taking two steps forward and two steps back because of the policy uncertainty.”

Listen to what the group had to say here: Biodiesel Industry Concerns