HANNIBAL - Driller Triad Hunter, a subsidiary of Houston, Texas-based Magnum Hunter Resources, will pay $22.3 million to purchase the rights to the oil and natural gas under the shuttered Ormet aluminum smelter, documents filed this week show.
This sale agreement follows the Friday announcement that Niagara Worldwide LLC won the rights to the plant and equipment on the surface for $25.25 million.
"I am aware of their operations and their prospective operations," Niagara President Eric J. Spirtas said Wednesday regarding the Triad deal. "The key to this property is much more than aluminum smelting. I want to inspire and support new business."
Last year, Wayzata Investment Partners wanted to pay $221 million for the plant that closed in October after a long series of negotiations with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio regarding electricity costs. The company hoped to power the plant with the natural gas drawn from the property.
Although the deal with Wayzata did not materialize, Triad has been drilling and fracking on Ormet ground for the past two years. A recent company report shows Triad began selling oil and gas from three of these wells on May 6, with the total daily average rate of 11.7 million cubic feet of natural gas and 1,788 barrels of condensate.
As Triad continues pumping natural gas, Spirtas said he cannot commit to being able to re-fire the smelter, but he is going to set up shop in Hannibal to explore all options.
"We are going to do anything we can to get jobs on that site," he said. "We are going to find out what that property can support."
Niagara Worldwide is based in Niagara, Wisc. and acquires, markets, manages and sells idle industrial properties and assets. Spirtas said the firm acquires properties like Ormet and determines a plan and feasibility of enacting that plan before finding partners and investors.
"I don't hope and I don't wish - I only pray for private things," Spirtas said. "I am confident that when working with the right people in the right place, you will find a great result."
United Steelworkers spokesman Tony Montana said union members are awaiting the court to give final approval for the sale before commenting on the matter.