AUSTIN, Texas – With natural gas prices on the rise again, gas companies are looking to cash in on the growing popularity of renewable energy sources.
In the latest round of a bidding war, Chevron Corp said it will buy out the investment of U.S. producer AES Energy Inc. and a group of Canadian and Japanese gas operators for $1.7 billion.
Chevron also plans to buy the majority of AES’s assets, including a 60% stake in a gas-storage project that will generate enough electricity to power a city for 20 years.
In Canada, the Canadian National Energy Board has announced that it will purchase AES’s gas assets for $4.5 billion.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
also bought AES’s remaining assets for an undisclosed price.
Chevron’s $1 billion deal will make it the biggest gas company in the world to acquire assets of a foreign energy company, and one of the largest acquisitions in the history of the energy industry, according to the energy board.
Chevron says it plans to operate its gas-gasification and processing facility in Irving, Texas, and it expects to build an export terminal in Alberta, Canada, which will have a capacity of 1.7 million barrels a day.
AES will operate the Irving facility and also sell gas-fired steam turbines to Chevron.
AES’s board says the combined company will have $6.4 billion in cash, with $4 billion of that coming from Chevron’s purchase.
Chevron is also paying $200 million for the company’s gas storage assets.
AES says the purchase will help it offset costs for the Irving refinery expansion.
Chevron will be able to buy about 8,000 megawatts of power from the Irving project, which is expected to produce nearly 200,000 Megawatt-hours per year, and deliver it to its customers in a cost-effective manner, according the company.
AES said it expects the Irving expansion to help it reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 17%, which would help the company meet the Paris Agreement’s emissions targets.
AES was formed in 2008 by two Canadian companies, Nexen Inc. of Calgary and Nexen Energy of Edmonton.
AES is a Canadian-owned company that was spun off from Nexen in 2013, but it continues to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron.
It operates a major gas and natural gas liquefaction plant in Irving and operates an oil sands processing facility that also produces natural gas.
AES operates more than 200 gas-processing facilities across Canada, including facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Calgary and Barrie, Ont.
AES has been buying and selling assets for years.
The company also operates a large natural gas storage facility in Barrie that provides storage for about 800 million cubic feet of natural gas, according AES.
AES plans to spend $1 trillion over the next 20 years on capital investments and other investments, and has about $3.2 billion of its cash, which was acquired in 2019.
Chevron said in a statement that it has an ownership stake of about 12% in AES, which it plans on using to help offset future expenses.
Chevron and AES are both owned by oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. Exxon Mobil has about 2.4 million shares of AES.
Chevron has more than 9.5 million shares.
The U.K.-based AES has an annual operating profit of $1,700 million.
Chevron expects AES to post a net loss of $2.5 to $3 billion.
AES shares rose 4% on Monday to close at $29.97, up from $25.97 a year ago.