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Land sold for gas-to-liquid plants

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT — This area along the Ohio River in Saline Township could become home to a pair of state-of-the-art gas-to-liquid plants, officials said Wednesday. Plans are in the preliminary stages. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — A locally organized industrial development company says it will build two state-of-the-art gas- to-liquids plants on a 500-acre parcel in Saline township.

Hammondsville-based Orin Holdings said the property is “adjacent to the Ohio River.”

“This parcel of land will be slated for industrial development housing two state-of-the art gas to liquids plants in the Ohio Valley,” the company said in a brief notice posted on its website.

Jefferson County Port Authority Incentives Manager Evan Scurti Wednesday stressed the project is still in a “very preliminary” stage, but said there’s “great potential.” Prior to posting that notice, Scurti said Orin Holdings had insisted on confidentiality.

“We’re ready to work with them, to hear what their needs might be as they go through the permitting process,” he said.

Orin founder Donald Brown said this morning that the site had been chosen after about three years of searching.

“We’re very pleased to find 500 acres of isolation and are happy to have the privacy the location offers,” he said.

Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Gentile said county leaders still don’t know a lot about plans for the facility.

“We’re still getting information,” he said Wednesday. “I’ll be very happy if it pans out. I’ll be very happy for any kind of jobs and I support the industry. This is a project that’s been discussed for a long time, we’ve heard about it for quite a few years but we don’t know much about it yet.”

Commissioner Dave Maple welcomed the announcement posted on Orin’s website, saying that it finally lifts the veil of confidentiality that had constrained local leaders.

“We respected that confidentiality up to this point,” he said Wednesday.

“It’s an exciting project. When they request help from us formally, we’ll do whatever we can to help them.”

Maple said if Orin’s plan comes to fruition, “hopefully, it will mean a good piece of job creation in the northern end of the county.”

“They have pretty good projections as far as employee (numbers),” he said. “But from what I understand, it might be a few years before it’s (up and running). It’s newer technology.”

Maple said it’s “exciting, it’s nice to see somebody building off of oil and gas.”

“It is certainly good news,” Jefferson County Commissioner Thomas Graham said this morning.

“The gas and oil industry has been big in Jefferson County and this is a sign that this will continue.”

On its website, Orin described the proposed facility as “one of the most modern, efficient and environmentally compliant alternative fuel plants built in the United States in more than 50 years” and said it would be the first utilizing local feedstock “ever built in the U.S.”

“As a brand new facility, it will operate more cleanly and efficiently than any plant of its kind, utilizing state-of-the-art instrumentation and controls technology to fully comply with today’s stringent environmental and safety requirements,” the company said.

“(It) will be one of the most modern, efficient and environmentally compliant alternative fuel plants in the world. In addition to its high efficiency and environmental friendliness, the plant is modular and utilizes technologies to make it suitable for building almost anywhere. This pocket-style fuel plant addresses the pressing need for local fuel-making capabilities and gets away from traditional-style refining complexes.

“To that end, the Orin GTL plant will expand capacity in the sweet spot of the Utica and Marcellus shale gas production areas.”

Orin says the site has a direct rail link to the Tri-Modal Columbiana County Port Authority facility in Wellsville, giving the proposed plants access to cost-effective barge transportation.

Brown said access to the Norfolk Southern Railway played a key role in the decision, adding that their main customers will be other refineries.

Once production gets underway, the facility would convert ethane gas to a product that will be shipped to other plants to be further refined into commercial-grade diesel fuel.

The company also discussed the potential for an NGL storage facility, an underground salt cavern. Orin said the “key components” of the storage hub surface infrastructure would be completed on site and cited the close proximity of the Shell Falcon ethane pipeline, which would be used to “simultaneously fill our ethane repository and feed both of our EGTL (plants).”

Having that NGL storage would “further enhance our ability to remain a resilient alternative fuel plant and maximize economic models to increase profitability,” the company noted on its website.

Brown is the former chief development officer for Waste Technologies Industries.

He is listed a co-founder of the company along with Brian Workman, a mechanical engineer and owner of several businesses, including Environmental Engineered Solutions, specializing in green technologies and energy efficiency upgrades, and managing partner of New England Applied Products; and John Payne, former mayor of East Liverpool and a former Columbiana County commissioner.

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