Panda Energy, El Paso sign pipeline agreements

Affiliates of Panda Energy International Inc. and El Paso Energy Corp. signed interconnection and transportation agreements to supply the fuel needs of 2,720-Mw power plant Panda is building in El Dorado, Ark. Panda CEO Robert W. Carter called the agreements a 'critical link' to completing what is expected to be largest US 100%-merchant power plant.


Affiliates of Panda Energy International Inc. and El Paso Energy Corp. signed interconnection and transportation agreements to supply the fuel needs of 2,720-Mw power plant Panda is building in El Dorado, Ark. Panda CEO Robert W. Carter called the agreements a "critical link" to completing what is expected to be largest US 100%-merchant power plant.

That deal involves Union Power Partners LP, Panda's project affiliate, and its pipeline affiliate, Trans-Union Interstate Pipeline LP, along with Gulf States Pipeline, a subsidiary of El Paso Field Services, the midstream business unit of El Paso Energy.

Panda said Trans-Union would build a new 42-mile, 30-in. diameter pipeline, connecting the El Dorado plant with the Gulf States Pipeline in Sharon, La. In a related move, Union Power Partners also signed firm transportation agreements with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a business unit of El Paso Energy.

Required documentation, including detailed environmental and cultural impact studies, were filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in December; agency approval is expected by midsummer. When completed, the plant will use about 430,000 MMcfd of natural gas, transported by Union Power Partners from various gas basins in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, officials said.

"Reliable delivery of fuel is one of the most important aspects of this, and any other, power plant," Carter said. "Through these agreements, we have done a lot to ensure long-term reliability by partnering with El Paso, one of the most respected companies in the natural gas transportation business."

He said site preparation is under way. First-phase operations are scheduled to go on line in the spring of 2002. An average of 700 workers, with a peak of 1,200, will be employed during construction.

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