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Port authority looks to profit from gas and oil activity

March 25, 2012
By TOM GIAMBRONI - Staff Writer , Morning Journal News

EAST LIVERPOOL - Officials are hoping Shell Oil's proposed petrochemical refinery near Beaver, Pa., will pay big dividends for the Columbiana County Port Authority's riverfront industrial park located downstream in Wellsville.

The refinery converts natural gas liquids into chemicals that can be used to produce everything from plastics to tires to antifreeze. Port Authority CEO Tracy Drake said at this week's board meeting any new businesses that could result might be interested in their 50-acre industrial park and its riverfront terminal.

Shell's announcement came the same week Chesapeake Energy announced a joint venture to build a $400 million shale gas processing complex near Kensington in Columbiana County that would pipe product to a $500 million collection and transportation hub to be constructed in Harrison County.

"We will see dynamic change on the Ohio River ... and we're right in the middle of it," he said.

Drake said things could really take off once the former Baard Energy project gets under way with plans to build a plant outside Wellsville that converts natural gas into synthetic diesel and jet fuel. The investment firm that took over the project has been acquiring the necessary property, and he has been told the project is moving forward.

In related news, the Port Authority board amended a lease to reflect Rosebud Mining is taking over what remains of a 50-year lease of 22 acres at the Wellsville facility. The site was originally leased by Buckeye Industrial Mining in 2005 for coal storage and transfer, but that never materialized and the company was sold to Evergreen Energy Inc. Drake said Evergreen has since sold that portion of the business to Rosebud.

The board also awarded a construction contract to the firm of Parella-Pannunzio Inc. to upgrade the access road to the Wellsville industrial park for $188,866, which includes repairing and resurfacing the portion of Clark Avenue leading to the facility. The road has begun to crumble because of the heavy equipment traffic.

A federal grant in the amount of $156,700 was received through the Ohio Department of Transportation to pay for the project, with the Port Authority paying the rest.



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