Rentech could need more land, Adams Co. officials say

Published 10:47 pm Saturday, October 7, 2006

Even before Rentech Inc. opens a planned coal gasification plant here, the company is considering a possible expansion, local officials say.

It that happens, Rentech may have to buy more land from Adams County.

The Colorado-based company develops technology for making alternative fuels and chemicals. It plans to open a coal-to-liquid plant in Natchez by 2010, creating about 200 jobs.

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The company was conducting additional engineering studies recently in anticipation of expanding of the original project, county attorney Bob Latham said.

“They haven’t made a final determination, but the prospect is they may develop the plant to increase the level of production,” Latham said Friday.

The originally proposed facility would produce roughly 10,000 barrels a day. The increase in production size may mean up to 20,000 barrels a day, Latham said.

Analysts say coal is increasingly attractive as an alternative to oil or natural gas because it is relatively cheap and can be produced domestically.

To expand production south Mississippi, the company would probably need to buy additional county land next to the proposed property.

Adams County Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said he and others met with congressional staff members in Washington, D.C., this past Tuesday. He said part of the conversation was about getting federal money to work on the land.

The original proposed plant would be on the Bellwood Country Club property near the Adams County Port.

Rentech is developing a similar plant in East Dubuque, Ill., where it will convert a nitrogen fertilizer plant into a coal gasification operation using Illinois coal. The Natchez plant would also use Illinois coal, shipped down the Mississippi River.