The road from Artesia to Hobbs — which cuts through the bustling oil-producing town of Loco Hills — is as crowded and active now as before world oil prices began to plummet last fall. And more oil- and gas-related facilities are planned or under way, such as a massive center in Jal to transfer sand from rail cars to the trucks that will haul it to drilling sites for fracking.
Meanwhile, URENCO USA’s uranium enrichment plant in Eunice, which began operations in 2010 as the first enrichment facility to be built in the United States in 30 years, continues expansion. It plans to build an interim storage site for spent nuclear fuel in an effort to attract more nuclear-related projects.
And recently, Joule Unlimited received an additional $40 million in financing to further its effort to commercialize a biocatalyst fuel production process currently under development in Hobbs.
Joule launched the Hobbs production on state-owned land in 2012, and the latest round of funding brings to $200 million the amount of private-equity and venture-debt financing that Joule has secured.
Engineered biocatalysts, which are basically bacteria, are mixed with carbon dioxide, non-potable water and micronutrients — add sunlight and solar power, make a few molecular changes, and voila, you’ve got biofuel.
Thus, be it oil, nuclear or algae-driven power, it’s a good time to hobnob in Hobbs if you want to talk real and economic power.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.
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