Colombian energy company Bioenergy, in its first deal, will begin selling ethanol to Bogotá-based oil and gas leader Terpel in a move that marks the beginning of the commercialization phase of its business.
The company, which is 98.7% controlled by Grupo Empresarial Ecopetrol, has so far shipped around 110,000 liters of ethanol since it was certified as a producer by Colombia’s regulator on January 31, it said in a statement, and the agreement calls for Bioenergy to provide a volume of ethanol in accordance with Terpel’s demand.
Bioenergy, which operates from its El Alcaraván plant in Puerto Lopez in the department of Meta, has produced a total of 800,000 liters and has now set a goal “to enter into agreements with other wholesalers,” according to a company representative.
The plant has the capacity to produce up to 504,000 liters of ethanol per day, which if reached could produce roughly one-fourth of the ethanol output of the entire country.
“The commercialization of ethanol marks a very important milestone for Bioenergy in its consolidation as the largest agroindustrial complex of ethanol production in Colombia,” said Rafael Pittaluga, general manager of Bioenergy. “We expect to conclude new commercial agreements with other wholesalers that allow us to provide cleaner fuel to Colombians.”
While Bioenergy received its official certification to become a commercial producer on January 31 and only announced the beginning of its operational phase in March, it produced its first liter of ethanol last year on December 21. The current rainy season, however, means that the consistent production of alcohol may not be viable in the short term due to the difficulty harvesting sugar cane, according to the company.
This inter-harvest seasonal phase, which Bioenergy calls “interzafra,” is typical in the plant’s location from April through July, after which the company says production should return to its expected growth trajectory based upon its the 17,000 hectares of sugar cane it has already planted.
Bioenergy also faced protests earlier this year that affected the growth plan of the company as it was working to move toward commercialization. Civil disturbances and protests disrupted operations in January, and a multi-day situation in February cost the company more than $300,000 USD, according to the company. Incidents, said the company, have included protesters setting hectares of sugar cane ablaze and threatening Bioenergy workers.
Photo: Bioenergy’s plant in the department of Meta. (Credit: Bioenergy)