Panda Energy Inks Transportation Agreement
El Dorado, AR is about to become much bigger and brighter on the
map. Dallas-based Panda Energy International has moved one step
closer in the process of creating what will be the largest natural
gas-fired power plant in the country. Panda announced that it has
secured transportation to meet the plant's daily natural gas needs.
Panda Energy's affiliate Union Power Partners, and its pipeline
affiliate, Trans-Union Interstate Pipeline, have signed a
transportation and interconnection agreement with El Paso Field
Services' subsidiary, Gulf States Pipeline. Union Power Partners
has also signed firm transportation agreements with Tennessee Gas
Pipeline, a business of El Paso Energy.
The 2,720 MW plant is to be fed by a 42-mile, 30-inch pipeline
that Trans-Union would build. The line would connect the El Dorado
plant and the Gulf States Pipeline in Sharon, LA. Union Power
Partners will be able to access gas basins in Texas, Louisiana, and
Oklahoma. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has had the
necessary filings since Dec. 1999, and a ruling on the proposed
line is expected later this summer. (see Daily GPI, Feb. 24)
Located on a 310-acre site, the plant will be near the Entergy
Corp. system and a 500 kv switching station. This arrangement will
allow Panda to sell power to markets in Louisiana, Texas, and
Expected to be completely on-line in the spring of 2002, the new
plant will receive deliveries of 430,000 MMBtu/d. These agreements,
are a "critical link" in the foundation of getting the plant up and
running, said Panda CEO Robert W. Carter. "Reliable delivery of
fuel is one of the most important aspects of this, and any other,
power plant." Carter explained that there would be an average of
700 workers, with a peak of 1,200, working during the construction
phases of the plant. Once the plant is fully operational, there
will be a full-time staff of about 65 people. The estimated total
cost of the plant is in excess of $400 million.
The need for this plant is evident; the area was plagued by
brownouts last summer, and most of what the region has running for
power generation are aging coal and oil units. "We are pleased to
enhance our strong relationship with Panda by providing the primary
natural gas delivery service to their new El Dorado power plant,"
said Robert G. Phillips, president of El Paso Field Services.
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