SCIO — A new gas fractionation, or separation, plant is being constructed in Scio, located in Harrison County. The plant, known in the industry as the Harrison Hub, is a sister to a gas processing plant planned to open this month in Kennsington, in Columbiana County.
Both plants are being built as part of a $900 million investment by Utica East Ohio, a partnership consisting of 3M Midstream, Access Midstream, and EV Energy Partners. The Kensington plant was begun first, and it is due to become operational this month, after being completed in its first phase. Joe Giles, vice president of operations at the two sites, has stated construction is underway at the Scio plant as well, but it will continue on for one or two more years, even after the facilities are operational, as the massive plants are expanded.
The Kensington plant will process the gas, and it will be separated at the fractionation plant in Scio. The construction phase alone has brought about 350 workers to Kensington and hundreds more to Scio.
“Harrison Hub, to open this summer as well, will take natural gas liquids released from Kensington and fractionate it into three main components, propane, mutane, and natural gas,” said Giles. “We’ve already filled positions, and, as a whole, we’ve hired about 45 people at the two plants, with about 60 percent of those being from Ohio. We are very pleased with the Ohio skill set. The coal mines, refineries, and different industrial work here have built good skills.”
Giles commented these are good, long-term projects that are not going away, and more jobs will continue to be created as the plants continue to grow.
“People always think they have to move around to work in the oil and gas field,” Giles said. “But, that’s not true. People can build an entire career here and have a well-compensated career. Or, they can choose to move to different locations so they can rise into management, the same way I did. I’ve moved 16 times during the course of my career, and the first plant I ever worked in during the 1970s is still in operation. So, they are designed to operate for a very long time and people can stay put, if that’s what they want.”
Giles has lived in Ohio for one year now, and has also resided in East and West Texas and Oklahoma.
“We’ll be here for a long time now, though,” he said. “We’ll end up spending up to $1.5 billion to build the plants. That kind of capital infusion will take a long while to pay out.”
Construction of a third sister plant will start later this year. This plant, to be situated in Leesville, within Carroll County, will be another gas processing site slated to be up and running by June of 2014.