NATRIUM, W.Va. - More than 900 construction workers are now building the $500 million Dominion Resources plant with plans to have it ready to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day by December.
"Currently we have 903 workers working in earnest on our Natrium construction project. Of the 903, 299 are local workers. In terms of completion, we are still working toward our December in-service date," said Dominion spokesman Charles Penn.
As the plant remains under construction along the Ohio River and W.Va. 2 in Marshall County, members of the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation remain 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. However, Penn emphasizes that CB&I has hired about one-third of its work force for the site from the local area.
Dominion will also look to hire 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.
Once the wet Marcellus and Utica shale gas travels to the Dominion plant via the company's pipeline network, the ethane, butane, propane and other natural gas liquids will be separated from the "dry" methane gas so that all the products can be individually marketed.
The Natrium plant is about to come on line at the time when Dominion is going to close a nuclear power plant in Wisconsin.
"This decision was based purely on economics. Dominion was not able to move forward with our plan to grow our nuclear fleet in the Midwest to take advantage of economies of scale," Dominion Chief Executive Officer Thomas F. Ferrell II said of the nuclear plant.