NATRIUM - Once the half-billion dollar Dominion Resources natural gas processing plant opens, the facility will feature a connection to the CSX Corp. railroad line running along the Ohio River.
The giant plant had been scheduled to open by the end of the year, but Dominion officials said Thursday the facility will not open until early 2013.
The plant will be part of a $1.5 billion partnership between Dominion and Caiman Energy, to be known as Blue Racer Midstream. Dominion will still operate the facility upon its completion.
"We have brisk construction activity on site with 825 workers - 296 of them local - working toward our in-service date," said Dominion spokesman Charles Penn.
Throughout the plant's construction along the Ohio River and W.Va. 2 in Marshall County, members of the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation have been 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 CB&I has hired about one-third of its work force from the local area. Total on-site worker numbers have fluctuated from about 84 to 903 over the past year.
Workers have been busy installing railroad lines that will connect the Dominion plant to the CSX line, which is part of the historic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Penn said the company will use rail service to move its product.
Dominion officials plan to be able to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day upon completing the project's first phase, with the capacity expected to double to 400 million cubic feet per day once the plant is completely finished.
Dominion plans to employ 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.