The Odessa Development Corp. unanimously voted Thursday to table a request by Summit Power Group to extend its deal with the city until ODC can meet with Odessa City Council.
Summit’s plan with the city expires March 1 and it is requesting an additional six months to get funding in order, Economic Development Director at the Odessa Chamber of Commerce Guy Andrews said.
“We discussed the Summit extension and we’ve had some conversations with some of the representatives and the suggestion was that we have a joint meeting of this board and the City Council and we all agree that’s a very good idea,” Vice President of the ODC Board of Directors Richard “Buz” Browning said.
The ODC tabled the request by Summit Power Group for an extension of the jobs grant that was put in place three years ago. Instead, the ODC and the city council will vote on the item at the next council meeting on Feb. 25.
“We’ve had to extend it (the jobs grant) because we first did the agreement three years ago and it has taken longer than we hoped and everybody knows we are at a crucial point in our financing,” Summit Project Manager Laura Miller said after the meeting Thursday.
Ground has not broken yet on the Texas Clean Energy Project, a $2.5 billion coal gasification plant to be located in Penwell, 15 miles west of Odessa. The project is expected to put more than 1,500 people to work during peak of construction and employ 150 permanent jobs when the plant is operational.
Browning didn’t know the number of people Summit would be required to hire each year once the plant is up and running.
In 2011, Department of Energy announced Tuesday that $450 million in federal funding has been approved to help build the Texas Clean Energy Project, a major hurdle in getting the project, developed by the Summit Power Group, off the ground.
Miller said negotiations are ongoing with potential investors for the project, from American, European and Asian sources. One of the most major milestones came last September during the 12th Annual U.S. China Oil & Gas Industry Forum, when Summit received a commitment or “memorandum of understanding” from Sinopec Engineering Group and the Export-Import Bank of China or Chexim, which committed to provide over $1 billion in debt towards the project.
Miller said there should be more news about financing in the next 45 days.
In other business, ODC approved its annual payment for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s “Green Freedom” grant for $100,000.
They also approved a $9,750 training grant for Triangle Pump Components as well as an amended matrix for the Development Finance Program Administrative Policy.