Scoular partnering with Pratt Biofuel

by Eric Schroeder
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OMAHA — The Scoular Co. has sold a portion of its ownership interest in Pratt Energy, L.L.C., a 55-million gallon ethanol plant in Pratt, Kas., to Pratt Biofuel Investors, L.L.C. (P.B.I.), which has a related ownership to Calgren Renewable Fuels. Scoular said it remains a part owner of Pratt Energy and will continue to operate the grain facility as well as procure all feedstock and provide distillers grains marketing services for the ethanol plant. Terms of the transaction were not announced.

Scoular acquired the Pratt ethanol plant and adjoining 1.8-million bu shuttle facility in 2011 from Gateway Plant, L.L.C. Since that time, Scoular has been operating the grain facility while seeking a qualified operating partner for the ethanol plant.

“We’re pleased to have selected P.B.I. as our business partner in Pratt Energy,” said John Heck, senior vice-president at Scoular. “They bring the solid operating experience required to get this plant up and running, which will allow us to establish even closer relationships with feedstock suppliers, distillers grains consumers, and ethanol buyers.”

Calgren successfully renovated a plant nearly identical to the Pratt plant and has been operating it in Pixley, Calif., since 2009.

Lyle Schlyer, president of Calgren Renewable Fuels, was named president of Pratt Energy, effective as of the close of the recent transaction between Pratt Energy and P.B.I. Mr. Schlyer will provide general management and production expertise for the plants in both Pixley and Pratt.

Scoular said P.B.I. will take the lead in renovating the Pratt plant with completion expected in the spring of 2013. Jerry Schroeder, formerly with Calgren and now with P.B.I., is on site to manage the plant renovations and will become manager of the plant when it is operational, Scoular said.

Mr. Heck said P.B.I. initially will be looking for a few construction-related employees who might eventually transition to operators. He further noted that information about additional employment opportunities will be made available as soon as a start-up date is finalized.

Located on the Union Pacific Railroad, the Pratt facility is capable of loading 100-car trains of grain, dried distillers grains, and ethanol. It is part of Scoular’s North American grain marketing network, a portion of which includes strategic investment in the state of Kansas. The 2011 Pratt acquisition brought the number of Scoular’s Kansas facilities to eight, including shuttle train loading facilities at Coolidge, Downs, Salina, and Wellington. Scoular presently employs more than 150 employees in Kansas.
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