Oklahoma's first large-scale ethanol plant to be built in Enid

Saturday, August 27th 2005, 12:09 pm
By: News On 6

ENID, Okla. (AP) _ An Oklahoma City energy company and an offshoot of the Oklahoma Farmers Union plan to build the state's first large-scale ethanol production plant here.

The $71 million facility will create 33 highly specialized jobs and other employment during a 13-month construction phase, officials with Oklahoma Ethanol LLC announced Friday.

Oklahoma Ethanol is a joint venture between Oklahoma Farmers Union Sustainable Energy (OK FUSE) and Chaparral Energy, a privately owned independent oil and gas producer.

According to a news release, the plant will produce at least 50 million gallons of ethanol per year and will be built on 40 acres of land in northeast Enid.

The plant will refine Oklahoma-grown milo and corn into a clean-burning fuel and fuel additive to replace MTBE, a gasoline additive that affects drinking water, officials said in the news release.

The plant will use 50,000 bushels of grain daily in the production of a clean-burning companion fuel.

The plant also will produce about 160,000 tons of distillers grain, which is a high-protein feed used by the livestock and dairy industries. It also will make eight million cubic feet of carbon dioxide daily for carbonation of soft drinks and in tertiary oil recovery operations to rejuvenate some old Oklahoma oil fields, the news release said.

Rep. Dale DeWitt, R-Braman, said the plant will be a great boon to Oklahoma's rural economy, and more such facilities could be built across the state in the future.

``Things can happen, but we could possibly see two or three (plants) in Oklahoma,'' Davis said.

DeWitt and Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, worked on legislation during the past session that will help ethanol plants with marketing and tax breaks once plants are in full production.

Ponca City also was in the running for Oklahoma's first ethanol plant site.

``Enid is an agriculture hub in Oklahoma, and it offers geographic proximity, existing infrastructure and most importantly, enthusiastic community support,'' said Terry Detrick, vice president of the Oklahoma Farmers Union and chairman of OK FUSE.

Mark Fischer, chairman and chief executive officer of Chaparral Energy, said the plant is good news for the energy industry and the environment.

``At a time when the United States imports close to 60 percent of the crude oil it refines, the addition of a modern, highly efficient plant to produce a proven renewable fuel source will help reduce our dependence on unpredictable foreign sources of oil to fuel America's economy while stimulating Oklahoma's economy,'' Fischer said.

Chaparral Energy, with more than 350 employees, produces oil from carbon dioxide-enhanced oil recovery operations in Oklahoma. The majority of its oil and gas properties are located in Oklahoma and Texas.

Enid city commissioners are expected to begin the process of establishing a tax increment finance district for the facility when they meet next month.

Construction of the new facility is expected to begin in early February 2006 and completed a year later.