Rutland Herald
November 15, 2012
Section: NEWS

Omya receives OK from PSB for LNG facility

   Bruce Edwards

The Public Service Board has signed off on a liquefied natural gas storage facility for Omya Inc., a decision that will allow the company to switch from more expensive No. 2 fuel oil to run its Pittsford calcium carbonate plant. In its order of Nov. 9, the PSB issued a certificate of public good for a 120,000-gallon liquefied natural gas storage facility, consisting of eight, 15,000 gallon vertical tanks.

The tanks will be built within a "concrete impoundment area" capable of containing all 120,000 gallons in case of a spill.

The PSB has regulatory authority over LNG storage projects under Section 248. It is the first facility of its kind in the state to be issued a certificate of public good.

Jim Stewart, Omya plant manager, said Wednesday that with the CPG in hand the next step is to complete the final design and submit that to the PSB for approval. Stewart estimated that the $8 million LNG facility would be built and online a year from now.

Omya grinds marble ore that's mixed with water to produce both a wet, or slurry, product and a dry product, both for a variety of industries.

Half of the plant's production is dry product which requires the use of six dryers using No. 2 fuel oil. Omya also heats its buildings with three boilers using fuel oil.

Stewart said the Omya plant consumes an average of 900,000 liters of fuel oil a month (238,000 gallons).

According to the findings outlined in the PSB's order, liquefied natural gas has several advantages over fuel oil: it is half the price of fuel oil and "has a relatively stable price and supply forecast."

There are also environmental benefits with liquefied natural gas reducing emissions, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Omya expects two LNG deliveries a day in tanker trucks which have a maximum capacity of 13,000 gallons.

The company has identified LNG suppliers in Boston and Montreal.

The LNG storage facility could also reduce the cost for L F Carter, a Pittsford trucking company, to haul marble ore from Omya's Middlebury quarry.

"We're in discussions with him to convert his fleet to LNG," Stewart said.

He said for Carter to fuel its trucks at the LNG facility requires PSB approval.

In addition to submitting its final design plans for review and approval, the CPG includes other conditions, including meeting provisions of the National Fire Protection Association.

Omya's project encountered no opposition. At a June 13 hearing at the Pittsford town offices, only one member of the public showed up and did not comment.

The state Public Service Department, the consumer advocate in utility cases, offered no objections to the project and entered into a stipulation with Omya in August.