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Somerset Signs Preliminary Lease for $70 Million Plant Lured by Natural Gas Supply


Construction of a new $70 million manufacturing plant in south central Kentucky could begin in the next few months. A tentative deal is in place to lease 23 acres of land.

The preliminary agreement with a group of Houston investors is for land near the Somerset Rail Park.

Local rail transportation and the new state-of-the-art Somerset Energy Center have been major factors in attracting the project.

Martin Shearer is Executive Director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Development Foundation. He says the energy center allows control of natural gas, a key part of the project.

“The availability and supply of the gas, the primary raw material for the process is important, and the sophistication of the ability to monitor and supply that at the right needed pressure certainly was a factor.”

Shearer says the plant will manufacture several products, including industrial sealants for containers and a type of motor oil. He says a substantial portion of those products are imported now and the Somerset plant could make Kentucky a leader in having them made domestically.

Shearer says the investment group is moving forward on details of the project.

“The timeline hinges on a number of varying factors, one of which is completion of their funding mechanism, their financial arrangements to do the construction and to do the project. We expect that construction could start as early as early spring, late winter.” 

Construction for phase one would take about 14 months. The initial phase would create about 20 high-salary jobs requiring expertise in chemistry and physics to develop the products. Phase two is expected to be a $200 million expansion.

© 2017 WKU Public Radio

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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