A new gas-to-liquid processing plant is expected to be up and running in Blair County by 2015, a $200 million investment in a region that doesn't have shale gas of its own but still wants a piece of the industry.
Marcellus GTL LLC of Gilberton, Schuylkill County, announced last week it would begin construction on the plant in Duncansville later this year. The facility, called a Clean Energy Center and the first of its kind, will process natural gas to produce about 84,000 gallons of gasoline and propane per day.
It will take up a 10-acre footprint on a 60-acre site, the latest Marcellus-related development to come to Blair County, which borders gas-producing regions but doesn't expect any wells of its own. The site, near Hollidaysburg, is about 90 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Blair County is cut off from the Marcellus Shale formation that underlies much of Pennsylvania -- the gas-rich rock cuts across western parts of the state and then veers north, missing many central counties.
That's why the region has begun marketing itself to companies that specialize in processing and treating the gas once it's been extracted, said Matthew Fox, marketing manager at the Altoona-Blair County Development Corp., a nonprofit business catalyst that's been in talks with Marcellus GTL for about 18 months.
The plant is expected to create about 30 permanent jobs and 100 construction jobs, he said.
The company is still discussing tax breaks and incentives with the state for building the plant, which will be housed in an area with many designated tax-exempt zones. The plan still needs to go through final building and environmental approvals.
Various existing pipelines will feed the Marcellus GTL plant, and the region is also home to companies that manufacture well heads and other drilling parts.
In 2011, Wayne, Pa.-based Gardner Denver Inc. announced it was building a 70,000-square-foot facility in Antis Township, Blair County, to manufacture pumps and provide distribution for shale drillers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Erich Schwartzel: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1455.