Rentech construction to start next year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 21, 2010

NATCHEZ — Rentech officials in town Wednesday said they plan to start construction on their Adams County facility next year.

During the three-year construction phase, the coal-to-liquid fuel company estimates creating 2,284 jobs for residents in and surrounding the Miss-Lou.

After construction is complete, the company expects to employ 400 workers.

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Rentech officials visited with members of the Natchez Rotary Club Wednesday and will talk to the Trace City Kiwanis today to share the results of an economic impact study done by Alcorn State University.

Two ASU business professors from the Natchez campus, Vivek Bhargava and Kimball P. Marshall, used sophisticated computer modeling software to draw conclusions about how many jobs would be generated by the construction and operation of a Rentech plant in Natchez.

Their numbers account for jobs that could be created to accommodate everything from transport to storage of Rentech’s inputs and outputs.

The study says construction phase expenditures are estimated to create more than 3,411 annual jobs in the state of Mississippi.

The study also projects 987 of those full-time jobs will be in Adams County.

And after the facility begins fuel production, the statewide impact could be up to 2,115 jobs.

Rentech Executive Vice President of Technology and Commercial Affairs Rick Penning said the company considers the Natchez project a top priority.

“We have two major projects and Natchez is by far the biggest project for us,” Penning said. “This is a world scale project.”

Rentech announced in December the signing of a non-binding memorandum with 13 airlines interested in buying fuel produced in Natchez. The memorandum of understanding set 2014 as the tentative goal for the start of fuel sales.

No exact dates are scheduled, and the company is still working to sign on investors and complete necessary permitting.

Rentech plans to construct the its plant at the former site of International Paper, a portion of which Rentech purchased in 2008.