New Ohio plant set

Texas-based Pinto Energy LLC has unveiled plans for a gas-to-liquids facility in Ashtabula County, a first in Ohio.

The 2,800-barrel-per-day plant will convert abundant low-cost natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales into high-value specialty products including solvents, lubricants and waxes, as well as ultra-clean transportation fuels.

Design work began last April and is expected to be complete at the end of 2013. Pinto wants to start construction in the first half of 2014. Mechanical completion of the plant is expected in late 2015 with start-up in early 2016.

The facility, to be built on 80 acres east of Ashtabula, will create 30 permanent jobs and 400 construction jobs.

Pinto recently filed the project’s air and water permits and is in discussions with regional economic authorities for additional local support.

The plant will use Velocys PLC Fischer Tropsch technology with advanced catalysts and proprietary microchannel reactors. Pinto has agreed to commercial license terms with Velocys and made a down payment toward the reactors.

It will be among the first gas-to-liquid plants in North America. Several have been proposed in Louisiana.

New pipeline planned

A Columbia Gas company on Monday unveiled plans for a new $60 million pipeline to carry natural gas liquids from Mahoning to Columbiana counties.

Pennant Midstream LLC said the 12-inch pipeline will run from the Hickory Bend Cryogenic Processing Plant in New Middletown near Youngstown to the Utica East Ohio facility at Kensington in Columbiana County.

The pipeline, now under construction, will be able to transport 90,000 barrels a day of liquids including ethane, butane and propane.

NiSource Midstream Services LLC operates Pennant Midstream, which is jointly owned by Harvest Pipeline (an affiliate of Hilcorp Energy Co.) and NiSource Midstream Services.

“The construction of new infrastructure is critical to unlocking the potential of the Utica shale play in Ohio,” said Jimmy D. Staton, Columbia Pipeline Group and NiSource Midstream Services CEO.

The pipeline is expected to be completed by July. The liquids will go to Kensington and then flow via a separate pipeline to a device called a “fractionator” in Harrison County for processing.


Cooper deal approved

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. shareholders have approved its $2.2 billion acquisition by India’s Apollo Tyres Ltd. The deal for the Findlay-based company, which was announced in June, gives Cooper stockholders $35 per share in cash. The companies valued the transaction at about $2.5 billion. Cooper Tire said Monday that more than 74 percent of its outstanding common stock voted in favor of the deal. Both companies’ boards unanimously approved the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the year.


Baby products service

Target Corp. has launched an online subscription service that allows shoppers to set up recurring deliveries for baby products, company officials announced.

The Target Subscriptions program is similar to one operated by online retail giant and targets new mothers, according to retail industry analysts. The service is available through the Minneapolis-based retailer’s website.

Currently, about 150 items can be ordered on a subscription basis, including products from well-known baby care brands such as Huggies, Pampers, Similac and others. Customers can choose to have these items delivered in recurring 4- to 12-week installments.

Customers who pay with a Target credit card receive a 5 percent discount off their order, officials said.


Corn hits 3-year low

Corn futures plunged to a three-year low Monday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture boosted its inventory estimate by 25 percent. Soybeans dropped the most in six months as supplies topped analyst estimates by 11 percent. Stockpiles of corn on Sept. 1 were 824 million bushels, the USDA said. That compared with the agency’s estimate of 661 million on Sept. 12. Analysts last week expected 694 million, on average. Soybean inventories were 141 million bushels, and a gauge of demand tumbled 41 percent in the three months that ended Aug. 31 from a year earlier. Corn has tumbled 37 percent in 2013, the biggest drop among 24 raw materials in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, amid forecasts for a record crop. Demand fell the most since 1975 in the past year.

Compiled from staff and wire reports