Corn-based ethanol unit being built in France

The first corn-based ethanol biofuels unit to be built in France is due on stream in October 2008. It is designed to produce 200,000 tonnes/year of bioethanol.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Apr. 19 -- The first corn-based ethanol biofuels unit to be built in France is due on stream in October 2008. It is designed to produce 200,000 tonnes/year of bioethanol.

AB Bioenergy France SA is constructing the €158.2 million unit on a portion of the depleting Lacq gas field, which Total SA sold to encourage post-Lacq activity in France's Aquitaine region.

Five Aquitaine area corn cooperatives having close links with Spain —Maïsadour, Ets Lacadée, Lur Berri Holding, Euralis Holding, and Vivadour—initiated the project. They form the holding company OCEOL, which holds a 36% interest in AB Bioenergy France, along with 64% interest partner Abengoa Bioenergia SA of Spain.

The unit's development, construction, and exploitation costs are being covered by a loan arranged by Bayerische Hypo-und Vereinsbank AG (HVB), a German-based member of Italy's Unicredit banking group.

Anne Lapierre, an energy and renewables associate of the international law firm Norton Rose, which advised HVB, told OGJ the project has received required government authorizations and will benefit from a reduction of the Internal Tax on Oil Products, granted to all biofuels in France.

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