MASON COUNTY, WV (WOWOK) -Excitement is in the air for Mason County residents and the surrounding area, as a new fuel processing plant is set to break ground in the upcoming months, and the project is also expected to bring new opportunities with it.
If you walk down Main Street in Point Pleasant, WV some of the residents will tell you that the local economy is weak, and people often leave the area for better jobs in other cities.
“Mason county has been struggling for many years. We have been in the past,” said Nathan Blaine, a local business owner in Mason County.
Jack Cullen, the superintendent for Mason County Schools added, “Unfortunately there has not been a lot of job opportunities in Mason County”.
Hopefully, things are about to change as a new state of the art coal to liquids facility is to be built on 200+ acres of land in the Point Pleasant area.
Domestic Synthetic Fuels recent received a permit to construct by the WV Department of Environmental Protection
The $1.2 billion estimated project will use locally sourced natural gas and coal to create more than 10, 000 barrels a day of fuel, such as gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuel.
Kevin Whited, lead developer for Domestic Synthetic Fuels, said they choose the location in Mason because of its proximity to the Ohio River, CSX railroad, and Highway 62.
He also said the area has a need for employment, and the facility will create 130 direct jobs, 130 new indirect coal jobs, and thousands of new construction job for the development of the facility.
John Musgrave, ex dir. Mason County Economic Development Authority, is optimistic that the new facility will also create some new jobs and business downstream that can generate a new stream of revenue for the area.
“We would have other companies locating here to use the bi-products from this plant, or just have an interest in coming in, locating, and creating other industries”.
Musgrave also said this is the start of a very, “exciting time for Mason County”.
The county school superintendent said the facility will also prevent local high school graduates from moving out of the area to pursue jobs elsewhere.
“If you can get certified in industrial maintenance, and walk out of the Mason County Career Center, and go up three miles to this plant, and get a job making $60,000 to $90,000 what a fantastic opportunity,” said Cullen.
He also said they are working with Domestic Synthetic Fuels to see what certifications students would need for employment, and they will look at what programs they currently have at the career center and see if they, “need to tweak anything”.
The project is expected to break ground sometime in October, and it is expected to be completed in late 2022, early 2023.
Domestic Synthetic Fuels said their coal to liquids facility is the first of its kinds in the United States, and it is estimated to bring in $300 million in gross revenue annually, and $11.5 million in annual payroll and employee benefits.