First Rentech fuel sale made to U.S. Air Force

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 30, 2009

NATCHEZ — On Thursday, Rentech officials marked a milestone in the company’s history with their first ever fuel sale.

Rentech’s director of investor relations Julie Dawoodjee said the first sale was to the U.S. Air Force.

“This is very significant, and we’re very pleased,” Dawoodjee said. “It proves there is a customer market.”

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And not only is the sale significant for Rentech, but it has got the potential to be good news for Natchez.

But many details on the sale are not being released.

Dawoodjee said she could not reveal how much fuel was sold, the sale price, when the actual sale took place or where the fuel is being tested.

Dawoodjee did say the fuel was purchased only after the Air Force first tested sample fuels.

Those sample fuels were produced at Rentech’s plant in Colorado last spring.

And while details of the testing — like the sale — are few, Dawoodjee said initial testing has gone well.

The Air Force’s sample fuel test was done in a laboratory, while the second round of testing, with the purchased fuel, will be done on an actual engine.

Dawoodjee said the first round of Air Force testing showed that Rentech’s fuel was able to meet the Air Force’s performance specifications.

Dawoodjee said while the company is excited to have completed its first fuel sale, it have its sights set even higher now.

Now its hoping to secure a contract with the Air Force.

Dawoodjee simply said the company is “in talks,” about the contracts.

And if those contracts come through, it’s great news for Rentech.

Dawoodjee said the Air Force is the Department of Justice’s single largest consumer of fuel.

In 2007 it spent $5.6 billion on jet fuel.

And if Rentech can secure a contract to provide some of that, it’s great news for Adams County too.

Adams County Supervisor Darryl Grennell said if Rentech could secure a contract, it would give its local project a great likelihood of coming to fruition.

“That’s a very strong indicator they’re moving forward,” he said.

Rentech is currently planning to build a $4.5 billion plant in Natchez that would be capable of making jet fuel.