Based on calculations by Bentek Energy LLC, U.S. ethanol production in the first quarter of 2008 is on pace to exceed 2007′s production during the same time period by more than 500 million gallons.
According to Business Wire, ethanol producers have already hit the 1.9-billion-gallon mark in 2008 — some 37 percent higher than it was in this time last year. "Average daily production through the first quarter of 2008 was approximately 21.4 million gallons per day," Business Wire says, "which compares to an average of 15.6 million gallons per day in the first quarter 2007 and an average of 17.8 million gallons per day for all of 2007."
"Not only is the quarterly growth impressive, but it also reaffirms growth patterns in the industry that we saw going back to 2006," says Jack Weixel, BENTEK senior analyst. "If this trend continues, 2008 will be another record-setting year for U.S. ethanol production." BENTEK Energy is an energy markets information company in Golden, CO.
BENTEK monitors the deliveries of natural gas from interstate pipelines to approximately 30 percent of all U.S. ethanol facilities, according to Business Wire. This number is then modeled to monthly fuel ethanol output data provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration to estimate a real-time daily U.S. estimate of ethanol production based on gas inputs. The U.S. has approximately 134 ethanol plants in service in 2008 compared to 68 plants five years ago in 2003. This year, expansions and new plants scheduled to go online could push total ethanol production to over 7.7 billion gallons if performance trends in the first quarter continue through the rest of the year. Total production of ethanol was approximately 6.5 billion gallons in 2007, according to estimates provided by BENTEK.
(Source: Business Wire)