Thai energy firm Banpu eyeing U.S. acquisitions

The United States is looking good for Thai energy conglomerate Banpu to invest further, which said it is conducting a feasibility study on acquiring several gas-fired power plants in the U.S.

The firm said it has a team of American experts in the U.S. running the numbers and measuring the market to determine whether the investments would provide the needed returns. Banpu said it has been working closely with the team through teleconferencing and other methods during the global spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Banpu Power has already been investing in the U.S. It has been operating gas businesses in the Marcellus shale field in Pennsylvania since 2016 and the Barnett shale field in Texas since earlier this year. These sites produce 800 standard cubic feet of gas per day. Chief Executive Officer Kirana Limpaphayom said investing in gas-fired power plants near those locations would give the company synergy among its assets.

The two areas are well connected logistically, with several gas pipelines linking them to wider national energy networks.

Currently, Banpu has specific power plants in the U.S. in its sights, and Kirana said that he expects the acquisitions to be completed by early next year. He added that Banpu might choose to raise funds through Thailand’s capital markets to make the purchases.

He mentioned that the plants under consideration would be converted so they could produce power both from natural gas and renewables. Banpu has a five-year goal to increase its power generation capacity to 5,300 megawatts by 2025, up from 2,400 megawatts today. Asset acquisition is one of the ways in which it intends to reach that goal.

The two plants under consideration have capacities exceeded 800 megawatts, Kirana said.

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