Appalachian Basin

Pinto Energy Announces 2,800 Barrel a Day Gas to Liquids Plant in Ohio

In good news for Northeastern Ohio, Pinto Energy is looking to build a 2,800 barrel a day gas to liquids plant east of Ashtabula, Ohio.  Pinto’s 80-acre industrial site is looking to tap into the vast quantities of natural gas being produced by the Utica and neighboring Marcellus formations to produce high quality synthetic liquids as well as lubricants, waxes and solvents.  The northeastern Ohio facility is estimated to create 400 temporary construction jobs, 30 fulltime jobs and induce an estimated 112 indirect jobs.

“Pinto is pleased to be joining the Ashtabula community,” stated Guy Dove, Chairman of Pinto Energy. “By building one of the first North American GTL facility in AshtabulaCounty, Pinto is creating well-paying jobs and extending the benefits of increased domestic energy production to North Eastern Ohio.”

The Pinto Energy facility will use Fischer-Tropsch technology developed by Ohio based Velocys to convert natural gas to liquids.  First developed for turning coal to diesel during World War II when the Allies cut off Germany from receiving petroleum shipments, the Fischer-Tropsch was later used in the 1950’s by South Africa when sanctions were put onto the country due to their stance on apartheid. Since then, the Fischer-Tropsch process has been refined by companies like Sasol to utilize natural gas as a feedstock instead of coal.  Yet while gas to liquids technology has been used by countries in the western hemisphere for many years, only now is it making its introduction in the United States – all thanks to the abundance of natural gas brought on by shale development.

The innovative process developed by Velocys — and used by Pinto Energy — will utilize microchannel reactors and super-active catalysts to allow compact and efficient facilities.  Formerly the technology only existed in large, conventional gas-to-liquid conversion plants that could cost upward to a billion dollars.  These breakthroughs allow the process to occur at the fraction of the price and space than in years past.

“Velocys offers the most efficient and cost effective GTL technology on the market today,” stated Michael Reinart, President of Pinto Energy

This new facility is also a win for the environment. The technology used will take the natural gas feedstock and produce cleaner burning diesel and jet fuel resulting in lower emissions of NOx, SOx and particulates.  In fact, the United Air Force has tested and certified a 50/50 mix of Fischer-Tropsch jet fuel for many of its aircraft. The Pinto Energy facility will also produce synthetic lubricants and high grade waxes – material that can be used in the production of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.

Pinto Energy has chosen Ventech Engineers International LLC to construct the Ashtabula facility.  Plans for the plant are expected to be complete by years end with construction beginning in the first half of 2014, completed by the end of 2015, and starting up production in early 2016.

The announcement by Pinto Energy is great news for AshtabulaCounty.  Even though the county is not in the heart of Utica Shale development, they are still seeing the benefits from increased oil and gas development happening in not only the state, but the region.

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