A private company will spend $200 million to build a gas-to-liquids processing plant in Blair County.
Marcellus GTL LLC of Gilberton, Schuylkill County, will 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.
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.
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, and John W. Rich, president of Marcellus GTL LLC, listen to Marcellus GTL Executive Vice President Paul Hamilton’s remarks at a press conference at the Devorris Center for Business Development.
The project will create in 30 jobs, officials say.
"This will be the first of its kind of facility in the country. These are the kind of jobs you can take a mortgage out on," said John Rich Jr., Marcellus GTL president and CEO.
In addition to the full-time positions at the plant, it is estimated that there will be an additional 60 secondary jobs and a peak of 120 construction jobs during the two-year development and construction period.
Construction is scheduled to begin later this year and be completed in 2015. The location is a 65-acre site, adjacent to the Warnaco distribution center, but the physical plant will only occupy about 10 acres in the center of the site allowing for a large wooded buffer.
Paul Hamilton, GTL executive vice president, is excited about the project.
"For too long we have seen energy prices increase while our dollars go overseas," he said.
We are in a real growth mode based on the extraction of clean natural gas. This will create more and lasting jobs," Hamilton said. "We want to build a showcase to show our children and grandchildren how energy can be developed responsibly and improve their lives. We believe this is the way to a more prosperous future in more quality jobs developed through innovation and private dollars."
Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. has been working with the Marcellus GTL team during the past year to bring the project to fruition.
"This is a major investment, they are taking an underutilized site and putting it into use. These are good family-sustaining technical jobs. There is also an opportunity for future growth and development," said President and CEO Marty Marasco.
Local officials also are excited about the project.
"Marcellus Shale is a godsend to the state of Pennsylvania. The discovery of Marcellus Shale is a great opportunity for us to revitalize the economy of Pennsylvania," said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District. "This project will help the environment, and geopolitically it is important to decline our dependence on foreign oil."
State Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., R-Blair, said he couldn't remember the last time we had an announcement of such a large project in Blair County.
"This is an amazingly large project for this area. This is the tip of the iceberg for what we can do with natural gas. We have an unbelievable future with what we have here in this commonwealth. Government needs to stay out of the way and let the private sector take the ball," Eichelberger said.