Celanese Corporation, a global hybrid chemical company, today announced the sale of its Pampa, Texas, facility to international investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown, as part of Celanese’s plan to pursue strategic alternatives for the site. Both companies will co-exist on the site for a period of time, as Celanese’s chemical production and other operations will continue until at least early 2009.
Babcock & Brown, a global investment firm with significant power generation and electric transmission and distribution holdings, intends to develop the facility for commercial power generation.
“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.”
“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.”
In 2006, Celanese joined with Babcock & Brown and several other companies to support the proposed “Panhandle Loop” project, which would connect wind and conventional electricity generation in the Texas Panhandle with the ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) power grid. On July 20, 2007, the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted to bring ERCOT access to the Panhandle Region.
Celanese began operations at the Pampa site in 1952. Today, it produces primarily acetic acid and acetic anhydride with approximately 250 employees.