Gas plant can qualify for tax break

A gas-to-liquids plant planned near Duncansville can qualify for up to seven years of tax abatement as long as construction begins by the end of the year.

The land identified as the site where Marcellus GTL LLC of Gilberton wants to build the plant that would turn natural gas into gasoline and propane is part of a Keystone Opportunity Zone.

Locating in a KOZ will allow for seven years of real estate tax abatement as long as construction onsite by the end of 2013, which is the expiration date for the parcel, said Matt Fox, Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. spokesman. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year and be completed in 2015.

That is not the only reason why the Schuylkill County company plans to invest $200 million and build its First Clean Energy Center near the Duncansville intersection of Route 764 and Old Route 22 on land that straddles Allegheny and Blair townships.

“Having a designated industrial site and zoning is one of the elements that we look for when evaluating sites. Being designated a KOZ has some advantages, but it was not a primary consideration,” said Paul Hamilton, Marcellus GTL executive vice president.

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 uses.

The project will create 30 jobs.

Hamilton said his company is talking to both Peoples Natural Gas and Texas Eastern about hooking onto one of their large natural gas lines in the area. He said the plant will use between 16 million and 20 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day.

The company plans to contract with a trucking company to transport its products from the facility via tanker trucks. He also said the company plans to sell its products to existing marketing companies, which will then sell through their retail outlets.

Marcellus GTL LLC will be the second Marcellus Shale-related company to locate in Blair County.

Gardner Denver, which assembles and repairs pump parts used in Marcellus Shale drilling and the hydraulic fracturing process used to access natural gas, opened a 70,000-square-foot $15 million plant in May in the Interstate 99 Enterprise Campus near Tipton.

In March, Gardner Denver officials announced the company is being sold to New York-based private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. in a $3.9 billion deal.

Gardner Denver officials have not commented, but Marty Marasco, president and CEO of Altoona-Blair County Development Corp., said it is his understanding the sale is not expected to have any negative impact on the local plant.

Marasco said at the present time there are no plans for another Marcellus Shale-related company to locate in Blair County.

“We’ve had some conversations. We are providing them [companies] with the appropriate due diligence information,” Marasco said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.