Marcellus Shale plant to be open in two years

DUNCANSVILLE – Construction of a gas-to-liquids plant near here won’t begin until next year.

When officials of Marcellus GTL LLC of Gilberton announced plans in March to build a plant that would turn natural gas into gasoline and propane, they said they hoped to begin construction by the end of this year.

“That was typical project optimism. We had hoped to get all of the supporting contracts in place. It has taken longer than we envisioned. We are finalizing the contracts and getting the financing in place,” said Paul Hamilton, Marcellus GTL executive vice president.

The company officials now hope to begin construction in the second quarter, between April and June.

“Starting then will coincide with drier weather, and it will be easier to do the ground work,” Hamilton said. “We expect the project to take about two years. We hope to be up and running in the first quarter of 2016.”

The project will be built near the Duncansville intersection of Route 764 and Old Route 22 on land that straddles Allegheny and Blair townships. The land is in a Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone, which will allow for seven years of real estate tax abatement.

The company had hoped to start by the end of this year because that was when the KOEZ was due to expire, but it has been extended through the end of 2020, said Marty Marasco, president and CEO of Altoona-Blair County Development Corp.

The Clean Energy Center will take natural gas and produce about 84,000 gallons per day of regular gasoline and propane to be marketed locally as transportation fuel and for heating use. The project will create 30 jobs.

Hamilton said the company continues to talk to natural gas companies about hooking onto one of their large natural gas lines in the area and to trucking companies to transport its products from the facility via tanker trucks.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.