Fractionation Plant will need 45 permanent employees
This story is from the article of Casey Junkins, for the Wheeling Intelligencer, published on August 13th.
NATRIUM – A small city is forming along W.Va. Route 2 in Marshall County, as the number of pipeliners and construction workers building the $500 million Dominion Resources natural gas processing plant continues to increase.
As the Ohio Valley adjusts to the liquidation of the RG Steel assets – as well as concerns that Ormet Corp. may need to lay off about 1,000 workers from its Hannibal Primary Aluminum Reduction Plant – the all new Dominion plant is set to open by the end of this year. Dominion spokesman Charles Penn said the number of construction workers at the Natrium site this week numbered 606, an increase from just 84 late last year.
The Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) Foundation remains at odds with Dominion – as well as the company building the plant on Dominion’s behalf, Chicago Bridge & Iron – for not hiring more local workers to build the facility. Penn said 208 of the construction workers on site last week were from the local area.
Dominion will also look to hire 40-45 full-time, permanent workers for jobs at the plant itself upon completion. Penn said these jobs will pay from $20-$30 per hour. He said those looking for a career working at a natural gas plant will need different skills depending upon their specific positions. Some workers will need electrical experience in an industrial setting, while others will need experience in process operation control that they may have from working in gas, paper, water or chemical plants. There will also be positions for rail and tanker truck loading.
Once the “wet” Marcellus and Utica shale gas travels to the Dominion plant via the company’s pipeline network, the ethane, butane, propane and other natural gas liquids will be separated from the “dry” methane gas so that all the products can be individually marketed.
A company such as Chesapeake Energy – which has agreed to supply the Dominion plant with its gas stream – is known in the industry as a “producer” because it sells the gas that it pumps out of the ground. Because the wet gas requires processing before it can go to market, Chesapeake and other producers send their gas to companies such as Dominion, Williams Partners (formerly Caiman Energy) or MarkWest Energy for processing. The separated gas products are then ready for use, with the ethane possibly going to a cracker plant somewhere in North America.
The Dominion facility should not be confused with an ethane cracker. At a cracker plant, ethane would be further processed into ethylene to make plastic. Once separated from the gas stream, the propane and butane will be kept in tanks on the Dominion site. However, company officials said this cannot be done with ethane because of its volatility.
Royal Dutch Shell may build an ethane cracker northwest of Pittsburgh that could be a destination for ethane derived from the Dominion facility, while Aither Chemicals is looking to build a cracker in the Charleston area, or elsewhere.
In addition to the 70-acre Natrium plant, the Appalachian Gateway pipeline project, designed to transport natural gas from West Virginia and Pennsylvania to markets across the eastern United States, should be in service by the end of September, Ferrell said.
The pipeline facilities – starting near the Ohio River in southern Marshall County and traveling eastward toward the Pittsburgh area – will include construction of about 110 miles of 20-inch, 24-inch and 30-inch diameter pipeline between West Virginia and Pennsylvania.