Will the biorefinery in Clatskanie ever produce ethanol again? The answer is unclear as an oil and ethanol distributor, Global Partners LP, announced it is looking to buy the facility for $95 million.
The Columbia Pacific Biorefinery, owned by a subsidiary of JH Kelly of Longview, Wash., was built to produce renewable corn-based ethanol, but production has been on hold because of high corn prices and low ethanol prices. The facility started receiving and shipping light crude oil and ethanol from the Midwest in November via rail cars and oceangoing barges.
Today, Global Partners LP announced it has signed an agreement to acquire 100 percent of the membership interests in the facility from Cascade Kelly Holdings. Global Partners owns and controls a large network of petroleum and renewable fuel terminals in the Northeast.
In a news release, the company’s president and CEO Eric Slifka said the Clatskanie facility will become an important distribution point for oil from North Dakota, as well as ethanol, to reach customers and refineries on the West Coast. The Bakken region of North Dakota is at the center of a controversial boom in shale oil drilling in the U.S.
“From our origination hub in the Bakken region of North Dakota, we will now have destination assets on both coasts,” said Eric Slifka, Global’s president and CEO. “This facility also creates a link between the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and Pacific refiners.”
Slifka said energy pipelines to the West Coast are limited, so his company will use its rail and marine expertise to send crude and ethanol West.