Pete Landrys Real Gas.com

Your ONLY Comprehensive Source of Ethanol FREE Gas Locations Throughout Louisiana’s 64 Parishes and Mississippi’s 82 Counties.

Pete Landrys Real Gas.com - Your ONLY Comprehensive Source of Ethanol FREE Gas Locations Throughout Louisiana’s 64 Parishes and Mississippi’s 82 Counties.

WEBSITE NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

“Pete’s” News Corner

  Your advocate for PURE Gasoline        “Laissez les bon temps rouler”                      Contact “Pete” at:                        way2gopete@yahoo.com                  

   ALL ABOUT ETHANOL GASOLINE ISSUES AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

———————————————————————————————————- 

    *     *     *     BREAKING NEWS     *     *     *

READERS:  I URGE everyone to read the ‘Feature Article’ I posted last week (scroll down) titled “37 U.S. Senators Call on EPA to Stand Tough on Renewal Fuel Standard” (scroll down to find the article).  There is NO doubt that the lobbyists for the corn farmers and ethanol plants are working hard to push Senators to NOT repeal the Renewal Fuel Standard.  If we do NOT push our States U.S. Senators and Representatives to REPEAL the RFS, we will lose this battle.  I URGE everyone to e-mail your States Representative and Senators and URGE them to support and vote FOR the Renewal Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015” which would REPEAL the RFS.  E-mail them at least weekly. 

NOTE:  NO new article today as was very late getting home at son’s after attending grandaughter’s high school graduation party in Atlanta area.

—————————————————————————————–

LSU SPORTS SUMMARY:  

LSU’s baseball team - The LSU Tigers WON their 2nd SEC Tournament game against Arkansas.  See the LSU section for dates/times/TV coverage of the SEC Tournament. 

Arizona  in game one of the Baton Rouge Super Regional on Saturday. The Super Regional is the best of three games.  Here is a link to the NCAA Super Regional Brackets:

Link:  http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/softball/d1

LSU learned late Sunday that they will will face Arizona in the Baton Rouge Super Regional.  Here is the game schedule, times and TV:

Game 1: Sat (5/23) – 2:00 pm CT – ESPNews

Game 2: Sun (5/24) – 4:00 pm CT – ESPN

Game 3: Sun (5/24) – 7:00 pm CT – ESPN2 (if needed)

———————————————————————————-

  *   *  *   *    ARTICLES SUMMARY   *   *   *   *

LSU SPORTS ARTICLE:  Today (5/19) I posted an article by The Advocate Blog Network titled “LSU with Five on All-SEC First Team, Including Freshman RHP Alex Lange“.  LSU’s Coach Paul Mainieri was also named SEC Coach of the Year!  See the article in the LSU section below.

—————————————————————————————————

 *  *  *   TODAY’S FEATURE ARTICLE   *  *  *

Today I posted an ethanol related article by Smarter Fuel Future titled “Going On The Record”  According to the article, “Sofie Miller, Senior Policy Analyst at George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center, tells us why she is going on the record against the ethanol mandate and why you should too.

————————————————————————————————-

PLEASE HELP REPEAL THE ETHANOL RENEWAL FUEL STANDARD BY E-MAILING OUR U.S. CONGRESSMEN!

PLEASE CALL, WRITE OR E-MAIL YOUR STATE’S U.S. SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES AND URGE THEM TO REPEAL THE RFS NOW – READ THE INFORMATION BELOW……the bill is titled “Renewal Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015″.  

See how to contact your States U.S. Representative and Senator on the website’s “How to Contact U.S. Congressmen” above on the page bar at the top of this page.

—————————————————————————————————

  *  *  *   GUN CONTROL IN AMERICA   *  *  *

BREAKING GUN CONTROL  NEWS:  I’ll ONLY post here when I add a new article to the “Gun Control in America” page. 

American gun owners and defenders of the 2nd Amendment NEED HELP in fighting off the Government and State ‘gun control’ advocates!  If you are not currently a member of the NRA (National Rifle Association) or the NAGR (National Association for Gun Rights), you are urged to join TODAY.  

Here’s how (the NRA is the most powerful and influential):

NRA:   http://home.nra.org/

NAGR:  http://www.nationalgunrights.org/ 

 ——————————————————————————————

 *    *    *   WEBSITE NEWS    *    *    *

 I have resumed my update of our website’s Louisiana ethanol free gas list.  As I indicted when I began this considerable effort, I will update the list on the website when I am completed.  This is a VERY time consuming effort, so bear with me.  

I finished Livingston Parish (going alphabetically), and am now working on Orleans Parish.  I had stopped working on the gas list update during the peak of football season.  I will resume working on the list later this week.

——————————————————————————————————

  *   *   *  BASEBALL SEASON IS HERE  *   *   *

 

Alex Box Stadium - Skip Bertman Field

Alex Box Stadium – Skip Bertman Field

 Here is the link to the Tigers 2015 Baseball schedule:

http://www.lsusports.net/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=5200&SPID=2173&SPSID=27866

The Tigers are 48 – 9 (23-8 SEC) for the season! (as of May 21, 2015)

LSU BASEBALL RANKING – May 18, 2015

Baseball America – #1 (was #1)  Collegiate Baseball – #1 ( was #1)

USA Today/Coaches – #1 (was #1)      NCBWA – #1 (was #1)

All polls still unanimously have LSU as #1.  The Tigers RPI has improved from 6 to 5!

      LSU Tiger Baseball Schedule and Scores

  SEC TournamentBegan Tue May 19th at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover Alabama.  The Tigers advance to the semi-finals against Florida today at 4:30 pm CT.  All games are to be televised on the SECN, EXCEPT the Tournament Championship game on Sunday, May 24th which will be televised on ESPN2.  

Here is a link to the SEC Tournament bracket:

Link:  http://www.secsports.com/bracket/baseball

Here is the SEC Tournament bracket in easier to read terms:

Tuesday, May 19
Game 1 (9:30 a.m.) No. 6 Ole Miss vs. No. 11 Alabama
Game 2 (TBD) No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 10 South Carolina
Game 3 (4:30 p.m.) No. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Auburn
Game 4 (TBD) No. 5 Arkansas vs. No. 12 Tennessee

Wednesday, May 20
Game 5 (9:30 a.m.) No. 3 Texas A&M vs. Winner Game 1
Game 6 (TBD) No. 2 Vanderbilt vs. Winner Game 2
Game 7 (4:30 p.m.) No. 1 LSU – 9   Auburn – 8  WIN
Game 8 (TBD) No. 4 Florida vs. Winner Game 4

Thursday, May 21
Game 9 (9:30 a.m.) Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6
Game 10 (TBD) Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8
Game 11 (4:30 p.m.) Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6
Game 12 (8:00 pm) LSU – 10  Arkansas – 5  WIN

Friday, May 22 
Game 13 (3 p.m.) Winner Game 9 vs. Loser Game 11
Game 14 (TBD) Winner Game 10 vs. Loser 12

Saturday, May 23
Game 15 (Noon CT) Vanderbilt vs Texas A&M
Game 16 (4:30 CT) LSU vs Florida

Sunday, May 24
Championship (3:30 p.m.) Winner Game 15 vs. Winner Game 16

——————————————————————————————–

GAME COMMENTS:  Texas A&M will face Vanderbilt in the tournament semi-finals TODAY at noon CT.  The Tigers will face Florida at 4;30 pm CT.  LSU and Texas A&M are the ONLY undefeated teams.

 ————————————————————————————————–

   *    *    *    LSU SPORTS ARTICLE    *    *    *

Today I posted a baseball sports article by Ross Dellenger of The Advocate Blog Network titled “LSU with Five on All-SEC First Team, Including Freshman RHP Alex Lange“.  The SEC baseball awards were announced today and LSU has FIVE on the All-SEC First Team, plus one on the second team and four on the SEC Defensive team!  ALSO, LSU Coach Paul Mainieri was named ‘Coach of the Year’!  

——————————————————————————————- 

LSU WITH FIVE ON ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM, INCLUDING FRESHMAN RHP ALEX LANGE

By Ross Dellenger – The Advocate Blog Network – May 18, 2015

 

LSU Freshman RHP Alex Lange makes ALL-SEC 1st Team

LSU Freshman RHP Alex Lange makes ALL-SEC 1st Team

Half of LSU’s starting lineup is All-Southeastern Conference, and so is its No. 2 pitcher.

Catcher Kade Scivicque, outfielder Andrew Stevenson, third baseman Conner Hale, shortstop Alex Bregman and freshman starter Alex Lange made the All-SEC first team released Monday.

Paul Mainieri was named SEC Coach of the Year, and Lange is the fifth LSU player to be named SEC Freshman of the Year. It’s the 14th time an LSU coach was named to that honor and the second for Mainieri.

LSU’s five players on the first team is the most of any other team, out-distancing Arkansas’ two. The teams are voted on by league coaches.

First baseman Chris Chinea, and his team-leading 11 home runs, made the second team All-SEC, and Mark Laird, Scivicque, Bregman and Stevenson landed on the All-SEC Defensive Team.

Arkansas’ Andrew Benintendi was named the SEC Player of the Year and Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer is the SEC Pitcher of the Year.

Lange, a Missouri native, grabbed an All-SEC honor in his rookie season. He capped a 10-0 regular season with a nine-strikeout performance in a start at Missouri on Saturday. He’s just one of five LSU freshman pitchers to reach a 10-0 mark. He finished the regular season – 13 starts – with a 2.11 ERA and struck out 91 to 35 walks, helping the Tigers secure a 16th SEC championship in program history.

Bregman, a projected top-10 first round pick in June’s MLB draft, picked up his third All-SEC honor in three years. Bregman, batting .329 with a .977 fielding percentage, made second team last year and first team as a freshman.

Scivicque is batting .363 with five home runs. He’s made the 20-man cut for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation’s best college catcher, and is a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, an award for the top college baseball players.

The speedy Stevenson is known most for his diving web gems in center field, but he’s stolen 22 of 28 bases and is hitting .360. Hale is hitting .363 and has made just six errors in 53 games – most of them at the hot corner.

—————————————————————————————————–

* NEW CHANGES TO ETHANOL FREE GAS LIST *

 We removed ONE ethanol FREE location in Louisiana recently:

United Food Store, 3500 Airline Hwy, Metairie, LA – store closed and for sale.
Thanks for Mr. Williams for letting me know.

We added ONE new ethanol FREE location in Louisiana recently:

James Truck Center, 221 Taylor Road, DeRidder, Beauregard Parish, 337-462-8884 – Thanks to the Store owner for letting me know.

NOTEIf any reader locates a store that is selling ethanol FREE gas but is not on our list, PLEASE send me the information asked for on the “Ethanol Facts” page so we can add it to the list!

We encourage all readers to patronize retailers who sell ethanol FREE gas.  If they are not profitable selling EO, they may convert to sell ethanol gas and stores with EO will become harder and harder to find.                                             ——————————————————————————————————- 

Have a GREAT week readers!  

“Pete”        

GOING ON THE RECORD

GOING ON THE RECORD

By Smarter Fuel Future – April 24, 2015

Around the country and across party lines there have been whispers calling for an end to the ethanol mandate, the ill-conceived federal policy that’s hurting American consumers, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, polluting our waterways, depleting water resources, aggravating global hunger and worsening extreme poverty around the world. But change doesn’t happen in hushed conversations behind closed doors; change happens on the record.

Sofie Miller, Senior Policy Analyst at George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center, tells us why she is going on the record against the ethanol mandate and why you should too.

VIDEO: Changes Happens on the Record

VIDEO LINK: https://youtu.be/YeRZC2-4oSA?list=PLxvJdyO2y6vct_45iwrdu87lJZ3ga3-aP

Individually, it’s hard to make your voice heard. But by coming together, on the record, we can stand up to the ethanol industry bullies once and for all. Concerned Americans from across the country are demanding reform. You can join them up by going on the record against this policy today.

Click here to tell us why you’re going on the record against the ethanol mandate.

WHY MOST ‘RENEWAL’ ENERGY SOURCES AREN’T REALLY RENEWAL

WHY MOST ‘RENEWAL’ ENERGY SOURCES AREN’T REALLY RENEWAL

By Robert Rapier – The Experts/Wall Street Journal – Sep 23, 2013

What is the single biggest misconception people have about renewable energy in the U.S.? And why do you think they have this misconception?

ROBERT RAPIER: I believe the single biggest misconception is the extent to which most of our “renewable” energy technologies aren’t really renewable. After all, what do we actually mean by the phrase “renewable energy?” In a nutshell, we generally mean energy that is produced within the annual solar budget of the planet, that doesn’t increase pollution and that doesn’t deplete natural resources.

This is an idealized definition, and practically none of our existing renewable energy sources would strictly meet this definition. In some cases, it is not even clear that some renewable energy options would be viable sources of energy without the fossil fuel inputs on which they currently rely. In such cases, these options are not truly renewable due to their fossil fuel dependence, even though many of them are treated as renewable.

Wind turbines are made from steel, the production of which is heavily dependent on coal. They are anchored by concrete, the production of which is a major global source of carbon dioxide emissions. Wind turbines and solar panels are both produced with scarce rare earth elements. Crops for fuel production are typically grown with fertilizer made from natural gas, as well as pesticides and herbicides derived from petroleum.

Corn ethanol is produced using process steam normally derived from natural gas, and electricity mostly produced from natural gas or coal. Biodiesel is usually produced using an oil feedstock derived from crops, and methanol, which is normally made from natural gas. Many advanced biofuels depend on hydrogen for upgrading, and hydrogen is made almost exclusively from natural gas.

Energy production that consumes nonrenewable resources, depletes aquifers faster than they can be recharged, degrades the topsoil, or causes pollution to build up in the environment is frequently called renewable, but it isn’t sustainable.

Even with renewable energy, as with all energy sources, we have to make trade-offs. Generally those trade-offs are economic, and so we consume fossil fuels during the production of renewable energy. But a renewable energy source that depletes resources will ultimately pose the same sorts of issues as those arising from dependence on fossil fuels. In the end our “renewable” energy will need to be sustainable energy. Ultimately the important question must be, “Can the renewable energy source still be produced without a heavy reliance on fossil fuel inputs?”

U.S. SHALE BREAKS EVEN AT $60, GOLDMAN SEES BRENT CRUDE AT $55

U.S. SHALE BREAKS EVEN AT $60, GOLDMAN SEES BRENT CRUDE AT $55

By Shuli Ren – Barron’s Asia – May 17, 2015

Investors are now worried the recent rally in oil prices was speculative and are questioning the weekly U.S. oil production data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a key metric followed by oil bugs, The Wall Street Journal‘s Nicole Friedman reported:

Traders “only want to focus narrowly on the U.S. production data,” said Tim Evans, energy-futures specialist at Citi Futures, a unit of Citigroup Inc. “They’re basically intent on examining the bark on a tree rather than taking in the entire forest.”

One reason traders have focused on the weekly production numbers is that the weekly count of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. started dropping sharply earlier in the year, raising expectations that production would subsequently decline.

But globally, the oil market remains oversupplied, leading some analysts and investors to predict an end to the recent rally. Even as weekly data show a drop in U.S. oil output since March, production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has grown.

The weekly estimate is usually accurate within 100,000 barrels a day, or roughly 1% of total production, said Robert Merriam, manager of petroleum supply statistics for the EIA.  However, the biggest production decline reported in recent weeks was only 36,000 barrels a day—meaning that given the margin of error, production could have risen that week.

Read full article here:  http://blogs.barrons.com/asiastocks/2015/05/17/us-shale-breaks-even-at-60-goldman-sees-brent-crude-at-55/?mod=yahoobarrons&ru=yahoo

DOT ANNOUNCES NEW, FINAL RULE TO STRENGTHEN SAFE TRANSPORTATION OF FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS BY RAIL

DOT ANNOUNCES NEW, FINAL RULE TO STRENGTHEN SAFE TRANSPORTATION OF FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS BY RAIL

By GSN: Government Security News – May 1, 2015

Washington, May 1 – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced a final rule for the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail. The final rule, developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in coordination with Canada, focuses on safety improvements that are designed to prevent accidents, mitigate consequences in the event of an accident, and support emergency response.

The rule:

1. Unveils a new, enhanced tank car standard and an aggressive, risk-based retrofitting schedule for older tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol;

2. Requires a new braking standard for certain trains that will offer a superior level of safety by potentially reducing the severity of an accident, and  the “pile-up effect”;

3. Designates new operational protocols for trains transporting large volumes of flammable liquids, such as routing requirements, speed restrictions, and information for local government agencies; and

4. Provides new sampling and testing requirements to improve classification of energy products placed into transport.

Canada’s Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, joined Secretary Foxx to announce Canada’s new tank car standards, which align with the U.S. standard.

“Safety has been our top priority at every step in the process for finalizing this rule, which is a significant improvement over the current regulations and requirements and will make transporting flammable liquids safer,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Our close collaboration with Canada on new tank car standards is recognition that the trains moving unprecedented amounts of crude by rail are not U.S. or Canadian tank cars – they are part of a North American fleet and a shared safety challenge.”

“This stronger, safer, more robust tank car will protect communities on both sides of our shared border,” said Minister Raitt.  “Through strong collaboration we have developed a harmonized solution for North America’s tank car fleet. I am hopeful that this kind of cooperation will be a model for future Canada-U.S. partnership on transportation issues.”

Other federal agencies are also working to make transporting flammable liquids safer.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Energy (DOE), in coordination with the White House, are pursuing strategies to improve safety.  DOE recently developed an initiative designed to research and characterize tight and conventional crude oils based on key chemical and physical properties, and to identify properties that may contribute to increased likelihood and/or severity of combustion events that can arise during handling and transport.

This final rule represents the latest, and most significant to date, in a series of nearly 30 actions that DOT has initiated over the last nineteen months, including additional emergency orders, safety advisories and other actions.

Additional information about the rule:

(Unless stated otherwise, the rule applies to “high-hazard flammable trains” (HHFTs)—a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid or 35 or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid dispersed through a train.)

Enhanced Standards for New and Existing Tank Cars for use in an HHFTNew tank cars constructed after October 1, 2015, are required to meet the new DOT Specification 117 design or performance criteria. The prescribed car has a 9/16 inch tank shell, 11 gauge jacket, 1/2 inch full-height head shield, thermal protection, and improved pressure relief valves and bottom outlet valves. Existing tank cars must be retrofitted with the same key components based on a prescriptive, risk-based retrofit schedule (see table). As a result of the aggressive, risk-based approach, the final rule will require replacing the entire fleet of DOT-111 tank cars for Packing Group I, which covers most crude shipped by rail, within three years and all non-jacketed CPC-1232s, in the same service, within approximately five years.

Enhanced Braking to Mitigate Damage in Derailments – The rule requires HHFTs to have in place a functioning two-way end-of-train (EOT) device or a distributed power (DP) braking system.  Trains meeting the definition of a “high-hazard flammable unit train,” or HHFUT (a single train with 70 or more tank cars loaded with Class 3 flammable liquids), with at least one tank car with Packing Group I materials, must be operated with an electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) braking system by January 1, 2021. All other HHFUTs must have ECP braking systems installed after 2023.  This important, service-proven technology has been operated successfully for years in certain services in the United States, Australia, and elsewhere.

Reduced Operating Speeds – The rule restricts all HHFTs to 50 mph in all areas and HHFTs containing any tank cars not meeting the enhanced tank car standards required by this rule are restricted to operating at a 40 mph speed restriction in high-threat urban areas.  The 40 mph restriction for HHFTs without new or retrofitted tank cars is also currently required under FRA’s Emergency Order No. 30.

Rail Routing – More Robust Risk Assessment – Railroads operating HHFTs must perform a routing analysis that considers, at a minimum, 27 safety and security factors, including “track type, class, and maintenance schedule” and “track grade and curvature,” and select a route based on its findings. These planning requirements are prescribed in 49 CFR §172.820.

Rail Routing – Improves Information Sharing – Ensures that railroads provide State and/or regional fusion centers, and State, local and tribal officials with a railroad point of contact for information related to the routing of hazardous materials through their jurisdictions. This replaces the proposed requirement for railroads to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) or other appropriate state-designated entities about the operation of these trains through their States.

More Accurate Classification of Unrefined Petroleum-Based ProductsOfferors must develop and carry out sampling and testing programs for all unrefined petroleum-based products, such as crude oil, to address the criteria and frequency of sampling to improve and ensure accuracy. Offerors must certify that hazardous materials subject to the program are packaged in accordance with the test results, document the testing and sampling program outcomes, and make that information available to DOT personnel upon request.

The actions taken today address several recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board, including: requiring enhanced safety features for tank cars carrying ethanol and crude oil and an aggressive schedule to replace or retrofit existing tank cars; requiring thermal protection and high-capacity pressure relieve valves for tank cars in flammable liquid service, expanding hazardous materials route planning and selection requirements for trains transporting flammable liquids; inspecting shippers to ensure crude oil is properly classified and requiring shippers to sufficiently test and document both physical and chemical characteristics of hazardous materials; and providing a vehicle for reporting the number of cars retrofitted.

You can view a summary of the rule here and the entire rule here. For additional information on the steps the Department of Transportation has already taken to help strengthen the safe transport of crude oil by rail, please visit www.dot.gov/mission/safety/rail-chronology.

 

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF BRAIDED LINE

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF BRAIDED LINE

By Andy Crawford – Louisiana Sportsman – April 15, 2015

I love braid. It’s tough. It’s got zero stretch. It doesn’t have memory. It’s got a very small diameter. You feel every tap. And when a fish is hooked the fight is just awesome.

It’s costs more than mono, however, and if you fish a lot it can seem like you’re throwing money down the drain staying in fresh line.

But Capt. Brent Roy of Venice Charters Unlimited uses a single spool twice — and it’s a simple trick that is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments.

Roy starts like all of us, heading to Bowie OutfittersAcademy, Cabelas or wherever. But he doesn’t just pick up one spool.

Read full article here: www.louisianasportsman.com/details.php?id=8021

DRILLERS ANSWER LOW OIL PRICES WITH COST-SAVING INNOVATIONS

DRILLERS ANSWER LOW OIL PRICES WITH COST-SAVING INNOVATIONS

By Clifford Krauss – The New York Times – May 11, 2015

KENEDY, Tex. — These are lean days in the South Texas oil patch, with once-bustling roads and hotels now empty as the price of oil has plunged and rig after rig sits idle.

Still, production has barely declined, a testament to the rapid gains that oil producers are making in coaxing ever more oil from older wells and the few new wells they are still drilling — and doing both while investing far less money.

The Norwegian oil giant Statoil, for instance, is experimenting here in the Eagle Ford shale field with a host of new drilling tools and techniques.

It is trying out different grades of sand to blast along with water and chemicals to better loosen the hard rock deep underground and increase a well’s production, and varying the depths of wells to squeeze out even more oil. It is using new well chokes that technicians can operate remotely from a computer or even a smartphone to quickly adjust flows to maximize production without overtaxing pipelines.

Read full article here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/12/business/energy-environment/drillers-answer-low-oil-prices-with-cost-saving-innovations.html?mwrsm=Email&_r=1

ETHANOL INDUSTRY LOOKS TO DRIVERS AND EXPORTS FOR PATH OUT OF A SLUMP

ETHANOL INDUSTRY LOOKS TO DRIVERS AND EXPORTS FOR PATH OUT OF A SLUMP

By David Shaffer – Star Tribune – May 11, 2015

Green Plains, the nation’s fourth-largest ethanol producer, owns this plant in Fairmont. The Omaha-based company reported losses on ethanol production in the first quarter.

Green Plains, the nation’s fourth-largest ethanol producer, owns this plant in Fairmont. The Omaha-based company reported losses on ethanol production in the first quarter.

Increased driving and gasoline consumption are helping the ethanol industry pull out of a first-quarter slump.

Producers of the corn-based fuel reported steep declines in operating income for the first quarter, marking a sudden end to companies’ record 2014 profits.

“The industry as a whole had a tough go in the first quarter,” said Mark Warren, partner and CFO for ­Ascendant Partners, a Denver-based financial advisory firm that tracks ethanol plants’ performance. “We are seeing things turn a little bit as of late.”

Industry officials say that Americans are driving more, and are projected to use more fuel in 2015. Demand for ethanol is expected to increase. Some ethanol plants are making investments to boost output.

“U.S. gasoline consumption continues to improve,” Juan Luciano, CEO of the nation’s largest ethanol producer Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), told analysts on a conference call last Tuesday. “That will translate into stronger domestic demand for ethanol. These, combined with strong exports, will keep our assets running hard, especially as we move through the summer driving season.”

ADM, which has an ethanol plant in Marshall, Minn., reported a 73 percent decline in its ethanol-related operating profit, to $42 million for the three months ending in March. The biofuel segment reported $156 million in operating profit in the first quarter of 2014.

Ethanol makers largely attributed the quarter’s slump to the drop in the wholesale price of ethanol, which typically is blended at 10 percent at the pump. As crude oil and gasoline prices began to decline in late 2014, ethanol sold for less, squeezing some ethanol producer margins.

“They certainly did get slammed — a year ago they were having record margins,” said Alex Breitinger, a commodities futures broker at Paragon Ag Advisors.

Of seven Minnesota-affiliated ethanol makers tracked by the Star Tribune, Green Plains, the nation’s ­fourth-largest producer, reported the only ethanol-related operating loss — $3 million — in the quarter ending in March. Other producers said first-quarter operating profits declined by two-thirds or more from the same period last year.

Valero Energy Corp., the nation’s third-largest ethanol producer and owner of Minnesota’s largest biofuel plant in Welcome, reported a 95 percent drop in quarterly ­ethanol operating profits to $12 million. A year ago, Valero’s record first-quarter generated $243 million in ethanol operating profits.

But executives said ­ethanol margins have rebounded since March. At Green Plains, the Omaha-based owner of 12 ethanol plants including large operations in Fergus Falls and Fairmont, CEO Todd Becker projected ethanol will be ­profitable for the year.

U.S. ethanol exports should range from 800 million to 1 ­billion gallons, Becker told analysts. The nation’s producers exported 836 million gallons of ethanol in 2014, a 35 percent increase over 2013, but short of the 2011 record, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

On the domestic market, wholesale ethanol is trading at least 40 cents per gallon less than gasoline, Becker said. That’s important because even with government blending mandates, ethanol’s penetration of the fuel market still relies heavily on price.

Minnesota, which requires a 10 percent ethanol blend, has 21 ethanol plants with a total capacity of 1.1 billion gallons annually. The industry refined 36 percent of the state’s 2014 corn crop into fuel, corn oil and animal feed, contributing $2.4 billion to the state’s gross domestic product, according to a report issued last week by the Minnesota Biofuels ­Association.

Although low gasoline prices hurt the industry’s margins early this year, the long-term effect may be quite the opposite.

Valero Energy Corp., the third-largest ethanol producer in the nation, above in Welcome, Minn., reported a 95 percent drop in quarterly operating profit.

Valero Energy Corp., the third-largest ethanol producer in the nation, above in Welcome, Minn., reported a 95 percent drop in quarterly operating profit.

U.S. gasoline consumption is on the rise. For the six months ending in March, consumption rose 2.7 percent over the same period last year. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says it expects another 1.6 percent hike this year, mainly because of lower fuel prices and a better economy.

If the consumption and export projections are correct, U.S. ethanol plants could be running at full capacity and still need to draw on stocks in storage, Becker said.

Warren of Ascendant Partners said some ethanol producers, including Green Plains, have announced upgrade projects to boost output. After the banner year in 2014, many producers are in a position to make such investments, he added.

“Last year a lot of these plants paid down a lot of debt,” Warren added. “A lot of them are in pretty good financial shape … These guys aren’t strapped.”

Another pressure on ­ethanol plants — high corn prices — also has gone away for now. A bushel of corn has been trading at a relatively low $3.60, below the break-even point for many farmers.

“Since the first of the year, I would expect every ethanol producer is much happier,” said Breitinger of Paragon. “Corn is down 40 cents a bushel and ethanol has gone up pretty substantially at the same time. So their margins should be looking better.”

 

 

 

 

EPA SENDS ETHANOL PROPOSALS FOR FINAL REVIEW

EPA SENDS ETHANOL PROPOSALS FOR FINAL REVIEW

By Timothy Cama – The Hill – May 5, 2015

The Obama administration is conducting the last step in its review of proposed annual ethanol blending mandates for three separate years.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent the proposal, which has not been revealed publicly, to the White House Office of Management and Budget, Reuters reported, citing industry sources.

The proposal would cover ethanol and biodiesel blending requirements for fuel refiners for 2014, 2015 and 2016 under the renewable fuel standard.

The EPA agreed in court last month to propose the levels for 2014 and 2015 by June and to release the final mandates by November. The 2014 level should have been out in November 2013, and the 2015 one a year later.

White House review is the final step before the EPA can release the proposals publicly and gather comments from the public on them.

The declined to comment on the Tuesday report.