WELLSVILLE - Stimulus money has helped fund improvements in Columbiana County to help transport crude oil to barges, and now a partnership will further the plan.
The Columbiana County Port Authority last month announced completion of the Wellsville project including installation of an overhead 60-ton crane system to move cargo boxes back and forth from barge, truck and rail; add a second cargo dock; and install a permanent barge for loading and unloading aggregate materials.
The project was funded with part of the $5.7 million in federal stimulus money received three years ago. It expands the capability of the facility at Ohio's largest river port and provides the state with additional international cargo access to Gulf of Mexico ports, in both New Orleans and Mobile, Ala., port officials said.
The improvements already have attracted a number of new tenants over the past year, such as Cimbar Performance Minerals, a mineral-processing company that is involved in a $10.3 million joint venture with another firm to produce drilling fluids for use in the shale gas industry.
In July, Arrowhead Utica Pipelines announced plans to build a $20 million-plus gas-transfer facility on 22 acres being leased from the Port Authority, creating 30 to 50 jobs.
At the same time, Marathon Petroleum Corp., which has a storage tank farm located next door to the industrial park, is purchasing some Port Authority property to develop a staging area for trucks delivering oil and gas for transfer to the storage tanks.
Tuesday, Reuters was reporting that Marathon Petroleum and Harvest Pipeline Co. have agreed to jointly build the truck-to-barge system on the Ohio River to transport crude oil produced in the Utica Shale oil play to refineries for processing.
According to Reuters, the project will provide 24,000 barrels per day of truck-unloading capacity and a terminal that can load up to 50,000 barrels per day of oil onto barges at the Ohio River in Wellsville.
Marathon will modify its existing Wellsville river terminal to handle the additional volume, and a new truck rack will be built on property leased by Harvest Pipeline next to the Marathon operation.