World Energy buys Elevance’s Natchez facility

Published 12:06 am Thursday, September 1, 2016

NATCHEZ — A Boston-based biofuels company has purchased Elevance’s biorefinery facility in Natchez and may potentially add 15 jobs at the plant.

World Energy announced Wednesday it had purchased from Elevance Renewable Sciences the facility located at the Natchez-Adams County Port.

World Energy has been supplying BQ-9000 certified biodiesel from the plant under a production contract with Elevance since January 2013. The plant is currently fully staffed and in full operation.

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A statement from the company said “the Natchez community can expect little change in the transition to new ownership.”

The 72-million gallon per year facility will keep 37 jobs and potentially add 15 jobs to the facility’s workforce, Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said.

“World Energy has a proven product, and we trust they will be successful in growing their production at this location,” Russ said.

The facility was purchased for an undisclosed amount of money, Russ said.

Elevance has over the past five years, Russ said, invested upwards of $30 million in improvements at the facility.

In June, World Energy and its joint venture partner BIOX Corp, announced the acquisition of a 90-million gallon per year production plant known as World Energy BIOX Biofuels (WEBB) located at the Kinder Morgan Liquid Fuels Terminal on the ship channel in Galena Park, Texas. WEBB is now in its final stages of preparation for production startup.

Also in June, the companies announced the establishment of a 315,000-barrel multimodal biofuels distribution center known as Houston Hub, which is co-located and co-operated with WEBB at Kinder Morgan’s Galena Park Terminal. Houston Hub is fully integrated into Houston’s petroleum distribution network by truck, rail, barge, ship and pipeline.

“Today’s acquisition of (Elevance’s) Mississippi River plant expands on the initiatives we took earlier this summer with BIOX.” World Energy’s Chief Executive Officer Gene Gebolys said in a statement. “Advanced biofuels are here to stay, but they won’t be fully mainstream until we integrate our 21st-century fuels into the sprawling production and distribution complex established for traditional fuels in the 20th century.

“That system originates in the U.S. Gulf, so we need to originate there, too, with both production and distribution. The Natchez and Houston operations now combine to enable us to supply BQ-9000 quality biodiesel in the Gulf at a scale and level of seamless integration never before available.”

World Energy is an advanced biofuels supplier based with over 200 million gallons of production capacity in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas and over 16 million gallons of biofuels storage.

Elevance purchased the facility in June 2011 from Delta Biofuels. Elevance planned at that time to invest $225 million into the project that would turn renewable oil feedstocks into “green” ingredients that other manufacturers would use as replacements for petroleum based additives.

Their plans were stymied by production issues with their initial plant in Indonesia. Plummeting petroleum prices also made their products more expensive than the petroleum products they aimed to replace, insiders said.