Weyburn Ethanol Driving Forward
Release Date: April 22, 2005
NorAmera BioEnergy Corporation announced today that its conversion of the Weyburn distillery into a state-of the art fuel ethanol facility is well underway. “In
fact the project is now 25% complete.” states Brad Hill President and COO. “On completion later this year, the facility will employ 20 people and convert 2.5 million bushels of wheat into 25 million
litres of climate-friendly fuel ethanol and 24,000 tonnes of high protein animal feed annually”.
Gordon Scraper, Chairman and CEO adds, “Our preference was to keep a low public profile until the ribbon cutting ceremony, but we recognize there is strong support and interest in the project, and wanted to take this opportunity to report our progress to the community and recognize the many
stakeholders in the project.”
Weyburn Mayor, Don Schlosser reports, “Over the years I have witnessed several buyers of the distillery come and go. Right from the start we had confidence NorAmera would deliver.”
NorAmera’s positive dealings with every level of government has proven business and government can work together for the right reasons. “This entire project has been an exercise in collaboration and cooperation,” notes Hill.
Since acquiring the former Weyburn distillery in July 2002, the project has received $3.5 million in financial support through the Government of Canada’s Ethanol Expansion Program. “The Government of Canada is working hard with the private sector to increase the production of renewable fuels such as ethanol,” said the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Finance, who announced the contribution to NorAmera in February 2004. “These fuels are an important part of
ensuring that our transportation sector reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.”
The project has also received legislative support from the Government of Saskatchewan in the form of mandating the use of ethanol in unleaded gasoline and effectively removing the Fuel Tax from domestically produced and consumed ethanol.
“We’re committed to encouraging a growing biofuels industry in this province,” Saskatchewan Industry and Resources Minister Eric Cline said. “NorAmera’s project in Weyburn is an example of second-generation economic growth, and we will be following its progress with interest.”
NorAmera also raised $12.5 million from Saskatchewan-based financial partners to retrofit the distillery and double its capacity. Financial partners include the Golden Opportunities Fund; and Farm Credit Canada and Spectra Credit Union of Estevan, Saskatchewan, working together through a
parri passu agreement.
Golden Opportunities Fund Inc., Saskatchewan’s first and largest Labour Sponsored Fund, was first to commit to the project, becoming a significant shareholder. Doug Banzet, Director said “We recognized the considerable business merits of reviving the former Weyburn distillery for the benefit
of Saskatchewan residents.”
Grant Kook, CEO and Chairman of Golden Opportunities Fund adds “Golden Opportunities Fund and its 10,000 shareholders are excited about this project due to the contracts that have been secured
by management. The Federal Government’s participation and the Provincial Government’s ethanol legislation also bring integral pieces together to make NorAmera the first major player in the Saskatchewan ethanol industry.”
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) was next in. “We’re proud of where the agriculture industry has been and we’re truly excited about the future. The progress, enthusiasm and new opportunities we are seeing make this industry incredibly diverse and dynamic. FCC is proud to be part of this innovative
Saskatchewan project,” said John Ryan, President and CEO of FCC.
“The co-founding shareholder and COO has proven success in grain processing and plant
retrofitting,” said Don Wasylyniuk, Senior Account Manager for FCC. “In addition, the distillery asset provided large plant economies of scale from a capital cost perspective.”
Wayne Claypool, Chief Executive Officer of Spectra, a $350 million credit union states that “This project is an exciting economic development for southeastern Saskatchewan, and one that is well suited to our organization’s commercial development strategy.” Don Gellner, Commercial Lending
Manager for Spectra adds that “The management of NorAmera presented a very sound business case. I am confident in the future success of this undertaking.”
“As long as the combustion engine is around, there will be a role for ethanol,” concluded Scraper. “A 7.5–10-percent ethanol blend boosts the octane level in gasoline by 2 points and reduces tailpipe emissions by up to 30 percent. It’s a win for drivers, the climate and the Saskatchewan economy.”