African Oil Trader Taleveras Takes First Step into Biofuels
by Anna Hirtenstein (Bloomberg) Taleveras signs joint venture with Global Green Development; First phase of biofuels project seen costing $400-$600 million — Taleveras Group, the African oil trading company, is making its first moves into renewable energy by setting up a joint venture to build a biorefinery in the U.S. with Global Green Development Group.
“The world is changing,’’ said Chairman Igho Sanomi in an interview in London. “People are getting more aware on the climate, so cleaner fuels are the future. This should form a very significant part of how we look at things going forward.’’
The plan is to set up farming collectives in Africa to grow jatropha, an inedible plant whose seeds can be turned into a fuel, and refine it in Mississippi to be sold in the U.S. market, according Sanomi. The first phase of the program is expected to cost $400 million to $600 million, with an annual production of 70 million gallons. It’s expected to begin operating in two to three years.
“So there’s no technical challenge, jatropha works,’’ said Bliss Baker, president of the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance. “The biggest challenge is building the infrastructure and raising capital in order to get sufficiently-large supplies. If you can overcome those, there’s a huge opportunity.’’
Taleveras is planning to set up farms in Nigeria and other African countries to cultivate the jatropha plant. It’s looking for a minimum of 15,000 hectares of land. The company is in discussions with state governors in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia. It’s expecting to create about 10,000 jobs.
Once the plant’s seeds are refined into a biofuel, Sanomi and partners are seeking to supply the U.S. military with a product that can be blended with jet fuel. READ MORE