Calumet acquires $25M stake in Louisiana plant

Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP plans to spend $25 million acquiring a stake in a gas-to-liquids plant in Louisiana, the Indianapolis manufacturer announced Monday.

Calumet, which refines fuel and produces specialty petroleum products, will own 22 percent of a total $135 million operation that will convert natural gas into 1,100 barrels per day of waxes, drilling fluids, distillates and other refined products.

Gas-to-liquids producer Juniper GTL LLC will operate the plant, which will be based in Lake Charles, La. Juniper is owned by SGC Energia SA of Portugal and Great Northern Project Development LP of Houston.

"This joint venture offers Calumet the opportunity to lead a growing market that converts lower-cost natural gas into higher value liquids," Jennifer Straumins, president and chief operating officer of Calumet, said in a prepared statement.

"Looking ahead, we believe this project puts Calumet in a leadership position to capture promising GTL opportunities which we anticipate to arise given expectations for continued growth in domestic natural gas production in future years," Straumins later stated.

Juniper reforms natural gas into a blend of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The gases go into a reactor and combine into a liquid, which is distilled and hydrogenated into a refined product.

The joint venture with Juniper is the latest in an expansion frenzy for Calumet that began in 2011, including two this year. In March, Calumet agreed to buy a drilling fluid maker. And in February, it announced it acquired a lubricant company for an undisclosed price.

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