Sugar Technology
On-line News

December 2007

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Quite a juicy month for news ...


BRAZIL

The latest figures from Brazil make interesting – if mind boggling – reading : the 2007/8 forecast is for 475 million tons of cane, a 16.6% increase over the year just finished. Cane growing land has increased from ~6.2 million to ~7 million hectares so the mean yield is expected to be just under 68 t/ha. 47% of the cane is expected to go to crystal sugar and 53% to ethanol.

You can see the full information [in Portuguese] on the web.

ED&F MAN TERMINAL IN BRAZIL

Man Sugar is reported to be about to invest US$ 40 million in a white sugar export terminal in the port of Suape, about 40 km south of Recife. The terminal with have a capacity of about 1 million t/a and will be able store up to 120 000 tons.

THAMES REFINERY TO GO GREEN

T&L has finally announced publicly its plans to raise the steam required at Thames Refinery using a wheat processing by-product. The 20 million project itself is already under way and is due for commissioning in 2009. Output will be 80 t/h of 4 400 kPa g steam. What is less clear is what the carbon footprint benefit is : T&L are claiming a 70% reduction in their press release but does that include the cost of compressing the fuel, transporting it and then re-processing to the form suitable for firing?

WISSINGTON ETHANOL

British Sugar saw the official opening of its 70 million litres/annum ethanol plant last month at its Wissington factory. The plant has actually been operational since last September.

However, the wisdom on another of British Sugar’s ethanol projects is being questioned. As we have reported previously, the company is planning to invest in a US$ 400 million wheat based project in Hull with BP and DuPont. If it does go ahead, the project will produce 420 million litres/annum of ethanol from late 2009.

NORDZUCKER HUNGARY

Nordzucker’s Hungarian subsidiary Matra Cukor is to close its Szolnok factory, giving up about one third of its quota. The Szerencs factory will continue to operate.

DANISCO

Danisco has announced the closure of its Panevezys factory in Lithuania. That will leave it with a beet factory and a refinery in Sweden, two beet factories in Denmark, a beet factory and a refinery in Finland, a beet factory in Germany and the remaining beet factory – Kedainiai – in Lithuania. It has apparently claimed there will be no more rationalisation but, who knows?

ORD RIVER

It looks as if the rescue bid for the Ord River industry has collapsed after all : the factory has closed down. Cheil Jedang, the Korean owner, wants Aus$ 7 million for the factory but the government of Western Australian refused to put up more than $4 million and the local growers could not find the difference.

In the past Cheil Jedang has said that it will move the factory to Indonesia.

INDIAN EXPORT SUBSIDY

Australia and Thailand have registered a complaint with the WTO against India’s current sugar export subsidy which is geared to assist with the disposal of that country’s large surplus. India’s response is to claim that the transport subsidies “are compliant with the WTO norms”.

ILLOVO IN MALI

Illovo have finally made their long awaited announcement on the Mali project. The budget for the first phase of the project – presumably factory and field – is US$ ~200 million, of which 40% will be equity and 60% will be debt. Illovo will be putting up 70% of the equity. At full capacity the estate will produce 200 000 tons of sugar and 15 million litres of ethanol. There will also be a revenue stream from exporting surplus electricity.

It will come as no surprise to regular readers that Mali is classified by the World Bank as an LDC. No prizes for guessing where the sugar is destined for.

KENYA AND COMESA

It looks like the Kenyan industry has won a reprieve : COMESA [the East African trade bloc] has granted a four year extension to the country’s sugar import controls. The proviso is that the government privatises the industry although it is not clear who would want to buy some parts of it : Miwani and Muhoroni are still in receivership and not operating. The details seem to be that the current annual import limit of 200 000 tons [of which 111 000 is ‘industrial’ grade] is to increase by 40 000 tons each of the four years and the duty for sugar in excess of the limit is to be reduced by 30%.

Meanwhile, Mumias has released some of the details of its proposed Tana River development, saying that it will seek a strategic partner to invest in the project. Somehow the numbers don’t gel : the reports say it will produce 220 t/d of sugar but also 35 MW of electricity, 25 MW of which will be exported.

DON PEDRO ETHANOL

The Roxas group has announced a 100 000 litre/day ethanol plant to be built at its Don Pedro factory in the south west of Negros island. Capital cost is estimated at US$ ~30 million.

OMAN REFINERY

Oman is set to have its own sugar refinery, this time in the northern port city of Sohar. The previous project, a refinery in Muscat, collapsed about 10 years ago. The refinery, expected to cost about US$ 200 million, will have a capacity of 660 000 t/a and should come on stream in 2010.

BALTIMORE EXPLOSION

There was an explosion and subsequent fire at Domino’s Baltimore refinery on the first Friday of November. Luckily nobody was injured in the incident which occurred while work was taking place on a dust collection unit.

GHANA

Louis Dreyfus, the French commodity trader, is planning to build a sugar facility in Ghana. What is less clear is whether it is to be a cane factory or a refinery, thanks to sloppy reporting. What we do know is that it is to produce 200 000 t/a of refined sugar and that it is to cost $60 million [presumably US$]. The location is at Tema, some 25 km east of Accra [and, as it happens, less than 1 km from the Greenwich meridian so 0 0’ east] which is on the coast and has a port. The reason for the confusion is that we are told that the facility will start processing imported ‘cane’ from mid-2009 but that "It is expected that after four years, we'll be feeding the plant with sugar cane produced in Ghana."

MAURITIUS

Mauritius is having a bad year again : the 2007 crop is now forecast at only 440 000 tons – well below its EU quota level. The problem is blamed on “especially difficult climatic conditions” : a cyclone at the start of the year and then an erratic rainfall pattern. However, with the EU regime change well under way one has to ask how much is long term reduction in crop size as people stop growing?

JAMAICA PRIVATISATION

It seems that the privatisation of the Jamaica industry is to exclude the land : this will remain government owned “for the interest of the people of Jamaica”. By the time you are reading this it is expected that the eight bidders will have received the government’s information memorandum for the next stage of the process : watch this space!





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