The price of oil and gas has heavily impacted some local ethanol plants, one of which announced today it will temporarily be closing it's doors and it's all up to 'supply and demand' for it to re-open.
When gas prices were up to 3, 4 dollars a gallon, the development of ethanol as a cheaper alternative was pretty big business. But now that gas prices are back down, ethanol demand is down, too.
And the first to be affected -- is the White Energy owned plant in Plainview. We spoke to David Diwik who oversees the company, he told us it's just a temporary shut down -- what he calls 'idle.' That means every employee here -- that's about 40 to 50 people -- will still have their jobs and have full benefits.
White Energy chose to make Plainview idle because it's the least profitable. Diwick says they'll go ahead and produce the rest of what they have, but then everything will stop. He adds that he hopes it will send a message to oil and gas retailers, that when there's less demand, it's easy to cut back supply -- in this case, nearly 4 billion gallons of ethanol -- and hopefully this will bring demand full circle and get business going again.
Diwick says employees will most likely be doing some maintenance work during the idle period, but he hopes to have the plant back up and running by the second quarter of this year. He says they're also looking into other things like feed stock, which could get the plant back in business before then.