Babcock & Brown to Acquire Celanese Pampa Facility for Development of Pampa Energy Center
Wednesday August 15, 9:15 am ET
Celanese Operations to Continue Through at Least Early 2009
HOUSTON, Aug. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- International investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown, announced today the closing of a transaction with Celanese Corporation pursuant to which Babcock & Brown intends to develop commercial power generation, as well as evaluate possible future renewable energy projects at the site of Celanese's Pampa, Texas facility.
Babcock & Brown is already developing a 1,000 megawatt (MW) wind energy project in the Central Panhandle, and the baseload power generation at the Celanese site will complement the company's wind power production, and increase the utilization of transmission lines delivering the power into ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas). Celanese will continue operations at the site until at least early 2009, while Babcock & Brown develops the energy projects and needed transmission lines are built to the region, with the potential for base load electric generation to be operational at the site as early as 2009.
"We are excited about the opportunity to convert the world-class infrastructure at the Celanese facility into a new Pampa Energy Center, potentially including IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) electric generation as well as renewable energy," said David Parquet of Babcock & Brown. "With transmission access available to reach Texas' vast ERCOT market, we intend to develop the site to its full potential, including up to 800 megawatts of coal-based electric generation, to complement our planned 1,000 megawatts of wind generation in the central Panhandle. New transmission infrastructure is essential to allow all Texans to access the world-class wind resources of the Panhandle, and to allow the existing Celanese infrastructure to help maintain adequate electric generation capacity reserves to meet growing demand."
Babcock & Brown, Celanese and other companies have advocated that new transmission infrastructure should be built to the Texas Panhandle to connect the region's vast wind energy resources and new conventional electricity generation with the power grid that serves most of Texas. This grid, known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, currently has only limited connection to the State's best wind energy areas in the Panhandle.
On July 20, 2007, the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted to bring ERCOT access to the Panhandle Region, including the area where both the Celanese site and Babcock & Brown's wind project are located. New transmission infrastructure serving both wind and non-renewable generation will have a higher utilization factor and thus be more cost-effective than transmission built to serve wind power alone.
"We're pleased to reach an economically viable solution for our Pampa site that maximizes future employment possibilities," said Celanese Chairman and CEO Dave Weidman. "The Pampa site has served Celanese customers well over the past several decades and will continue to be a resource over the next few years. We will work to ensure a smooth transition for our employees, customers and suppliers. We believe the assets at this facility can play a key role in future energy supply for the state of Texas."
Celanese began operations at the Pampa site in 1952. Today, it produces primarily acetic acid and acetic anhydride with approximately 250 employees.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Babcock & Brown
Babcock & Brown is a global investment and advisory firm with longstanding capabilities in structured finance and the creation, syndication and management of asset and cash flow-based investments.
Babcock & Brown was founded in 1977 and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Babcock & Brown operates from 29 offices across Australia, North America, Europe, Asia, United Arab Emirates and Africa and has in excess of 1000 employees worldwide. Babcock & Brown has five operating divisions including real estate, infrastructure and project finance, operating leasing, structured finance and corporate finance. The company has established a funds management platform across the operating divisions that has resulted in the creation of a number of focused investment vehicles in areas including real estate, renewable energy, retirement and aged care and infrastructure.
Babcock & Brown's Infrastructure Division operates across a diversified range of assets including renewable fuels, renewable power, conventional power, transportation, energy distribution and transmission, and Public Private Partnerships. At December 31, 2006, Babcock & Brown's total funds and assets under management were more than US$44 billion.
As a global leader in the chemicals industry, Celanese Corporation ) makes products essential to everyday living. Our products, found in consumer and industrial applications, are manufactured in North America, Europe and Asia. Net sales totaled $6.7 billion in 2006, with approximately 60% generated outside of North America. Known for operational excellence and execution of its business strategies, Celanese delivers value to customers around the globe with innovations and best-in-class technologies. Based in Dallas, Texas, the company employs approximately 8,900 employees worldwide.
Source: Babcock & Brown
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