Companies exploring joint ethanol operation

Friday, September 28, 2007

SEMO Milling and Ethanex Energy Inc., might still partner up to build an ethanol plant, despite a "termination" of an earlier partnership, an Ethanex spokeswoman said Thursday.

The statement came two days after the Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued an air permit to a company listed on the permit as Ethanex of SEMO The company is organized as Ethanex at SEMO Port LLC, according to filings with the Missouri Secretary of State, and is owned by Ethanex Energy Inc. Ethanex is organized under Nevada law and lists principal offices in Basehor, Kan.

"Despite the termination of the joint venture originally anticipated between Ethanex Energy and SEMO Milling, the two companies continue to explore the construction of an ethanol plant that uses next generation technology at the SEMO Port," Ethanex spokeswoman Leslie Turner said Thursday in a prepared statement, but declined to elaborate further on the prior joint venture or the companies' current relationship.

SEMO Milling president and chief executive officer Bob Smallwood didn't return a call after a Southeast Missourian reporter left a message with his assistant on Thursday.

In May Smallwood told the Southeast Missourian that the joint venture between his company -- which processes food-grade corn -- and Ethanex was off the table and that his company would continue to explore its options for building an ethanol plant at its Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority location. The joint venture was first reported by the Southeast Missourian in July 2006.

According to the permit issued to Ethanex, the DNR received all the materials needed to complete the permit application May 9, a week after Smallwood was quoted about the joint venture's end.

The installation will be the border of Cape Girardeau and Scott counties, with about 90 percent in Scott County, according to the DNR permit.

The permit will allow Ethanex to build a 138.6-million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant at 261 River Road, an address occupied by SEMO Milling. The permit is the second issued for ethanol plants in the Nash Road/SEMO Port area, the other being Renewable Power of Cape Girardeau. A permit is pending for First Missouri Energy, a 65-million-gallon plant looking to locate in the same area, according to DNR records. A construction permit has also been issued for Bootheel Agri-Energy to build a 120-million-gallon plant in Sikeston.

DNR maintains a file with updated status on ethanol and biodiesel permits throughout the state at www.dnr.mo.gov/ethanol/airpermit-statusf....

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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