Texas Energy Firm to Build New Power Plant

FORT WORTH -- The Sid Richardson Carbon and Energy Co. of Fort Worth says it will build a 24-megawatt power plant at a company manufacturing facility in Big Spring.

Upon completion in April 2006, the plant will generate up to 21 megawatts of power under normal operations, about half of which will be used in the Big Spring carbon black plant. The surplus will be sold under contract for residential and commercial use.

The generating plant, which will cost $28 million, ultimately will have a capacity of 54 megawatts, the company said in a release.

The announcement said the generating plant will "ensure the financial viability of the Big Spring carbon black plant and demonstrates a strong financial commitment from the owners toward customers and employees."

The carbon black plant converts low-grade diesel oil into an ash that makes up about one-third of a rubber tire and acts as a hardening agent.

The Big Spring plant produces an average of more than 800 million pounds a year. Richardson formed the company in 1948 after he and his nephew, Perry Bass, bought a surplus U.S. government carbon black plant in Odessa that was no longer needed for wartime production.

Richardson Carbon and Energy Co. also has plants in Addison, La., and Borger.

The carbon black business is one segment of the Richardson family of companies, which operate more than 4,000 miles of natural gas pipelines serving the West Texas gas fields and six gas-processing plants in West Texas and New Mexico.

The carbon and energy businesses are separate from the family's oil and gas exploration and production operations, which are under the management of Bass Enterprises.

Richardson, who died a bachelor in 1959, used Fort Worth as a base to become one of Texas' legendary oil wildcatters. His fortune was made primarily in the Keystone Field in Winkler County in West Texas beginning in the early 1930s.