Plant plans reason for encouragement

Residents of our region received some positive news Wednesday when it was learned that a local company has plans to build a gas-to-liquids facility in Saline Township in northern Jefferson County.

Hammondsville-based Orin Holdings and county officials see a big potential for the facility, which would be located on 500 acres of ground that has sat idle for more than 30 years.

According to the plan that was released Wednesday, Orin would construct on the property two state-of-the-art plants that would convert natural gas into a product that would be shipped to other plants where it would be further refined into commercial-grade diesel fuel.

The twin plants will likely provide a big boost to the region’s economy. According to Trustee Danny Householder, the project will create as many as 500 jobs and will provide a significant increase to the tax base of the township. Householder has been working behind the scenes for about three years to help bring the plans to the point they currently sit and was praised for his efforts during Thursday’s meeting of the Jefferson County commissioners.

Orin officials said the land where the proposed facility would be built sits in a sweet spot — right in the heart of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. It also is located close to Norfolk Southern’s rail line, which runs next to the Ohio River; is close to the river itself; and is close enough to the Columbiana County Port Authority’s inter-modal terminal in Wellsville that it will have easy access to barge transportation.

Plus, its proximity to Shell’s Falcon Pipeline means the facility will have easy and economical access to natural gas — the plant’s raw material. Orin said the potential exists to build an underground storage facility for natural gas in a salt cavern below the property.

As Donald Brown, one of the founders of Orin, said, the company is happy it was able to locate the property.

Company officials explained that the facility will be one of the most modern, efficient and environmentally compliant alternative fuel plants in the world.

The oil and gas industry has played an important role in our region’s economy for many years now, and it’s likely that role will expand.

Construction is continuing on Shell’s ethane cracker in Monaca, and it’s expected the official announcement about a cracker in Dilles Bottom planned by PTT Global Chemical and Daelim Industrial Co. LLC will come soon.

It’s not known how soon the Orin facility can get up and running. The permitting process is expected to take more than a year to complete before construction can begin. And, it’s likely many concerns will be raised about the impact on the environment the plants might or might not have.

There are still many questions that need to be answered and plans can change during the process, but based on what we know now, Orin’s planned facility is good news for our area.


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