Oklahoma's first ethanol plant

OKLAHOMA CITY_Construction is set to begin before the end of the year on Oklahoma's first ethanol plant.

The $100 million plant will be built on a 240-acre site in Blackwell, 100 miles north of Oklahoma City.

Jerry Ennis, Boldt Construction Company's southern operations president, said Thursday that construction will take about a year and a-half.

Boldt is also building an ethanol plant in Wisconsin.

An estimated 20 million bushels of corn and grain sorghum will be converted to 50 million gallons of fuel grade ethanol and 176,000 tons of distillers' grains at the plant annually. The plant will create 35 new jobs.

Oklahoma Ethanol LLC, which is backing the project, is a joint venture between Oklahoma Sustainable Energy LLC and Oklahoma City-based Chaparral Biofuels, a subsidiary of Chaparral Energy.

"Oklahoma's rich agriculture history is a very positive component of this project and along with Boldt's nationwide experience in the construction of fuel production facilities, we're confident the plant we build will be a strong economic contributor to Blackwell and Kay County," Ennis said.

Oklahoma Ethanol originally planned to develop the plant in the Enid area, but those plans were postponed in February amid concerns of increasing construction costs and the high price of corn.

Officials with the joint venture later shifted the project location to Blackwell, citing its closer proximity to Interstate 35 and good rail access.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)