Japanese firm buys stake in Pacific Bioenergy
Date: July 21, 2017
Source: PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN by FRANK PEEBLES
One of Prince George’s flagship companies in the alternative forestry sector has gotten an international boost.
Sumitomo Corporation of Japan has acquired a 48 per cent equity interest in Pacific BioEnergy Corporation (PBEC), one of Canada’s leading producers of wood pellets. It has its head office in Vancouver but its original manufacturing facility is in Prince George on the Willow Cale Forest Service Road, built in 1994 then rebuilt and expanded in 2007.
It has timber supply locations in Kitwanga near Terrace and Nazko near Quesnel, plus manufacturing facilities in Quesnel and Fort St. John. Combined, the company produces in excess of 550,000 tonnes per annum of industrial grade pellets that go to market in Asia and Europe. Over the years, PBEC has manufactured more than 3.5 million tonnes of wood pellets sold onto the global market.
“PBEC welcomes the acquisition of 48 per cent of our company by Sumitomo Corporation,” said PBEC’s chair and CEO Don Steele. “We see the acquisition as a vote of confidence in our vision to continue to build PBEC and the biomass energy sector in British Columbia.”
The Pacific BioEnergy plant on Willow Cale Forestry Road is seen in a 2010 file photo. Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corporation has purchased a 48-per-cent stake in the pellet producer. – Brent Braaten, Photographer
For Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corporation, this was a sensible move to secure an energy supply. They operate power generation plants. They need the fuel, so they now have their own stake in where it comes from.
“Sumitomo Corporation began importing biomass fuel into Japan for power generation in 2008,” said a statement by the company. “Biomass fuel is seen as a promising energy source for encouraging wider use of renewable energies in Japan, and Sumitomo Corporation has been developing reliable sources overseas to complement domestically produced biomass fuel. In acquiring a stake in PBEC, Sumitomo Corporation is seeking to establish a steady wood pellet supply for the long term and thereby help spread and promote renewable energy.”