Watts: Litigation may hurt Rentech deal

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, March 11, 2008

NATCHEZ — A long-standing bump in the road has the potential to make big trouble for Rentech and their future in Adams County.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Henry Watts said litigation over mineral rights could hinder Rentech’s ability to purchase the land that would house their future plant.

Watts said a third party with possible relations to the original landowners, who sold the property to International Paper decades ago, retained mineral rights to the land.

Email newsletter signup

Watts said the third party has recently voiced intent to drill for oil on the land and has obtained a permit for drilling.

Rentech’s Natchez project coordinator Joe Regnery said resolution to issues dealing with mineral rights are preconditions of Rentech’s acquisition of the land.

Regnery said drilling on the land would conflict with Rentech’s ability to move forward on the project.

However, late Monday evening director of investor relations Julie Dawoodjee said Rentech officials are committed to the land closing and plant development in Natchez.

Dawoodjee said issues concerning mineral rights “may or may not delay the timing of the closing.”

While possible delays are yet to be seen, Dawoodjee said the closing will occur.

“We fully expect to close,” she said.

Rentech and the county have said the land deal would be final by April 1.

Monday, Regnery said Rentech would like to close on March 28.

Rentech plans to use the 450-acre site for the development of clean burning fuel and other chemicals.

The new plant is projected to cost approximately $4 billion and will employ approximately 200.