EU approves BP, DuPont biobutanol venture

By Anna Austin
The European Commission approved a proposal to create a biobutanol production technology joint venture between BP plc. subsidiary BP Biofuels and U.S. chemical manufacturer DuPont, resulting in the takeover of U.S.-based Biobutanol LLC.

Under the EU Merger Regulation, mergers or concentrations with a community dimension are subject to exclusive examination by the commission, which found that the BP Biofuels/DuPont transaction would not give rise to horizontal overlaps between the activities of the parent companies, as they are currently not active in the licensing of any production technologies for biobutanol or the supply of biobutanol.

The commission also ruled out any competition concerns due to vertical relationships, given BP's limited position on the downstream markets of gasoline supply, both at EU and national levels.

The joint venture will serve to develop and commercialize technologies for biobutanol production, operations mainly occurring within the U.S.

BP and DuPont initially announced plans to develop biobutanol technologies in 2006.

BP Biofuels also has a jointly owned, commercial cellulosic ethanol project in Highlands County, Florida, with cellulosic ethanol and enzyme developer Verenium Corp. The 36 MMgy facility will use sorghum and energy cane as feedstock.

-Anna Austin