Northwest Ohio companies will soon have access to lower-priced power and fuel components.
Alpont LLC has nearly completed a new $62 million chemical plant in Oregon that will primarily manufacture methanol and biodiesel fuel catalysts. A subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based Interstate Chemical Company, Alpont LLC plans to begin production in August.
The product sale and distribution will likely stay local, which will benefit the energy and gas market in northwest Ohio, experts and officials said.
Two local, undisclosed companies are in client contract discussions with Alpont. That has given optimism to Oregon officials that the chemical plant distribution will stay local and benefit the community.
The Oregon Clean Energy plant, which shares the same high pressure natural gas line that Alpont will use, produces the lowest priced power regularly in the United States.
“The lower priced power can lower costs for all people in the region, and Alpont’s development may bring something similar,” said Michael Beazley, city administrator of Oregon. The two customers are located in the Toledo area, so they’ll be able to procure the product at a cheaper rate, which will profit the region.
“My goal is to keep the product sold locally, which obviously will drive down the price for customers here in Toledo and in Oregon,” Lou Razzano, executive vice president of Interstate Chemical Company, said.
The plant has already hired 25 full-time employees, over half of its initial proposal of creating 40 new jobs in the Toledo area. Alpont is “pretty on track to what was committed to for the city of Oregon and our partners,” Mr. Razzano said.
The company plans to hire more employees before the plant is fully commissioned.
The city of Oregon initially competed with Erie, Pa., for the proposed new jobs. However, Oregon eventually prevailed because of its access to a high-pressure 850 psi gas line, the one the Oregon Clean Energy power plant also uses.
“Most locations are only able to bring in about 20 psi of gas; our process requires 365 psi, so that was the main attraction to Oregon,” Mr. Razzano said. “Pennsylvania did not have that.”
Interstate Chemical Company chose Oregon over Toledo because of the gas line and because Toledo does not have enough industrial land and sites available to meet that need, Mr. Beazley said.
In July, 2017, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 1.4 percent, seven-year tax credit for its project due to its promises of job creation and revenue.
A month later, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued three permits to Alpon — two concerning storm water management and one about air pollution.
The air pollution control permit is only given when the EPA has “[made] sure local air quality will be maintained,” Dina Pierce, an OEPA spokesman, said.
The Regional Growth Partnership, northwest Ohio’s regional network partner for JobsOhio, also helped Alpont LLC find a site.
“With 40 new jobs, the investment that Alpont brings is just as significant for the region: $62 million,” John Gibney, chief marketing officer of RGP, said.
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