Syntroleum Corporation ( SYNM)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

November 10, 2011 11:00 am ET


Gary Roth - President & CEO

Karen Gallagher - SVP & Principal Financial Officer


Shawn Severson - JMP Securities

Michael Prouting - 10K Capital

Anthony Chen - Alc Capital



Good morning, and welcome to the Syntroleum third quarter 2011 results conference call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) Please note, this event is being recorded.

I’d now like to turn the conference over to [Karen Power]. Please go ahead ma'am.

Karen Power

Good morning and thank you for joining us today. Remarks for today’s call will be presented by Syntroleum’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Gary Roth, followed by Karen [Power], Senior Vice President and Principal Financial Officer, who will report the financial results for the nine months ended, September 30, 2011.

Before we begin our remarks, I would like to remind everyone that during this call, we will make certain forward-looking statements as well as use historical information. Words such as belief, estimate, expect, intend, plan, anticipate, could or should are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Although Syntroleum believes that expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements involve risks and uncertainties.

Future results may differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements. You are encouraged to refer to our SEC filings, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K for a full disclosure of these risks and uncertainties.

Now, I’ll turn the call over to Gary Roth for opening remarks.

Gary Roth

Thank you, Karen. We are excited to announce our most recent 75,000 gallon jet fuel sales to SkyNRG for use in 75 Alaska Airlines flights. Alaska Airlines conducted the first flight yesterday from Seattle to Washington DC. This builds on the successful flight by KLM between Amsterdam and Paris and further demonstrates renewable jet fuels produced at Dynamic Fuels is 100% compatible with petroleum-based infrastructure.

Renewable jet fuels offers the following five advantage compared to conventional fuel. Renewable fuel has more stable fluid properties below freeze point. CO2 emissions are reduced 90% at idle and 74% of at cruise. Engine system carbon deposits are 10 times lower than conventional jet fuel which could reduce engine maintenance. Renewable jet fuel typically has higher energy content reducing fuel consumption and a reduction in life cycle greenhouse gas initiatives in excess to 50%.

In November we’ve received EPA registration for neat renewable diesel. This allows us in onroad engines of upto 100% which means no blending of petroleum based diesel is required. EPA registrations allows us to market our fuels directly to end users such as fleet operators and transit authorities without the cost of blending.

Further an EPA registration will allow Dynamic Fuels to RINs without having to sell to a blender. We are actively marketing to owners of fleet who are interested in a superior sustainable fuel that is just diesel and requires no change to the way they currently procure fuel.

We continue to conduct research with the Department of Energy on our phase change material. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is currently evaluating samples of pelletized phase change material produced using commercial pelletizing equipment.

We are sending pellet samples to Egyptian board manufacturer for evaluation as requested by the manufacturer. Similar PCM products are reported to reduce energy usage in homes and offices by 20% to 30%.

Sinopec continues to operate the SDF demonstration demonstrating Syntroleum’s FT technology. The results have been excellent to date. The SDF has exceeded 2000 hours run time while demonstrating full capacity. Sinopec is currently running our FT catalyst on non-dilute syngas with performance better than that demonstrated on dilute syngas.

We believe that the momentum for coal to liquids in China is building and these encouraging results could lead Sinopec to develop a commercial plant using Syntroleum’s FT technology. FT technology continues to look economically viable using GTL within the US.

Recent gas prices have been approximately $3.50 per Mcf while diesel prices have remained strong at approximately $3.10 a gallon. At current prices the cash margin of a GTL plant will be approximately $70 a barrel. We continue to receive early stage interest from third parties that are licensing our GTL technology. Our priorities are currently focused on optimizing reduction in cash flow from Dynamic Fuels which provides us the financial strength to pursue GTL opportunities for own accounts.

I would like to review the current plant production performance in detail. Previously we reported July production of 5.4 million gallons or 87% of capacity. In August we produced 4.6 million gallons or 74% of capacity. In August we encountered a mechanical issue with our solid recycle pump. Prior to this issue, the pump experienced a record run time of 3765 hours or 157 days.

Our previous run time before that was 528 hours or 22 days. The issue encountered with the pump in prior run is related to seal failures. The new seal design continues to perform to expectations. The current event was not caused by seal failure but by a long-term build up of corrosion debris. We noted this upon inspection of the pump in August and we’ve been working on mitigating solutions to be installed at our September turnaround.

During turnaround in September we had installed additional corrosion inhibitor injection points to mitigation corrosion. The pump ran from August 20 to October 24 resulting in a runtime of 995 hours. In October we encountered similar corrosion debris using our solid recycle pump as we encountered in August.

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