Investment company buying Barnsdall polymer plant

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

Baker Hughes, which owns the polymer plant at Barnsdall, is in the process of selling that business to a private investment company called SK Capital Partners.

The transaction is reportedly anticipated to be completed soon, perhaps by the end of September.

A Baker Hughes spokesperson told the Journal-Capital that the sale will allow the company to focus more on its core strengths.

“Baker Hughes continuously reviews its portfolio, and the agreement to sell the Specialty Polymers business to SK Capital Partners will allow us to focus more on our core strengths as an energy technology company,” the spokesperson said. “Baker Hughes believes that a reputable and focused buyer like SK Capital Partners will enable the business to grow and prosper.”

The Barnsdall plant currently employs about 100 persons. Baker Hughes is not disclosing the purchase price for the plant. During the period of its ownership of the facility, Baker Hughes has carried out a major environmental cleanup, the completion of which it celebrated in 2018.

Beginning in 2015, the company carried out a multimillion-dollar project to remove more than a billion pounds of asphalt waste from the property. The waste that became the infamous Barnsdall Asphalt Pit accumulated during the first half of the 20th century, over a period of more than three decades when the site was used for crude oil refining.

In a press release about the purchase of the Barnsdall plant, SK Capital Partners described the type of work that is done at the facility.

“The specialty polymers business, with manufacturing operations in Barnsdall, Oklahoma, produces specialty low molecular weight olefin polymers, including a range of differentiated functional polymers and premium, high melting point polyethylene waxes,” SK Capital said. “Over its 85-year history, the business has been dedicated to innovation and has developed a strong reputation as a premium specialty supplier and solutions provider to its diverse customer base.”

“SK has extensive corporate carveout expertise and we look forward to partnering with management to transform the business into a world-class independent specialty chemical company with an intense focus on operational excellence,” Jonathan Borell, a managing director of SK Capital, said in the company’s news release. “As an independent company, the specialty polymers business will be able to build upon and enhance its reputation as a reliable provider of innovative and high-quality polymers.”

SK Capital described itself in its release as “a private investment firm with a disciplined focus on the specialty materials, chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors.” It said that its businesses generate annual revenues of more than $9 billion, and that it operates more than 80 plants in 24 countries, employing more than 10,000 people.

According to minutes from an Aug. 11 meeting of the Barnsdall Chamber of Commerce, a representative of the plant gave the Chamber a briefing on the sale/acquisition of the facility. Details in the Chamber minutes include that the new business name will be NuCera Solutions L.L.C.; that the acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of September; and that the plant will be its own business unit. The plant will likely have around 150 to 160 employees, the Chamber minutes added.