Zechstein Energy Storage (ZES), a PE-backed midstream oil and gas company, is "actively" looking at opportunities to acquire natural gas storage facilities in Europe, said Paul Bieniawski, CEO.
The Gronau, Germany-based company was created in 2012 from assets acquired by its PE sponsor Haddington Ventures from Netherlands-based Continental Gas Storage, said Bieniawski, speaking on the sidelines of Platts 12th Annual Gas Storage Outlook in Houston 13 January. ZES has not disclosed the equity commitment it received from Haddington Ventures.
ZES is talking to a number of bankers about its plans, but it has not yet retained a financial advisor, Bieniawski said. The company receives legal counsel from both King & Spalding and Bird & Bird, he said.
Within the next two years, ZES will have storage capacity in Europe, but it has not decided whether to build a new facility or acquire an existing one, Bieniawski said. There are multiple existing facilities that could make good acquisition candidates and the company is "actively" looking at opportunities, he said.
The company has its own plans and permits to build a high cycle 30bn cubic foot underground natural gas storage facility in Germany, near its border with the Netherlands, he said. If built, ZES's project would cost between USD 100m and USD 400m, he added, declining to be more specific.
Asked about an exit for the company, Bieniawski said ZES has had discussions with strategic infrastructure players who indicated an interest in acquiring a facility once it was up and running, he said.
Previously, Bieniawski served as president and COO of Bobcat Gas Storage. Texas-based Bobcat was a also a portfolio company of Haddington Ventures, and it was acquired for USD 540m in 2010 by Spectra Energy, according to published reports.