Nacero, the natural gas to gasoline company that proposes to build an $8 billion plant in Ector County announced major changes and significant progress at Thursday’s meeting of the Odessa Development Council – which several board members described as really good news for the community.

Hal Bouknight, Chief Operating Officer of Nacero, presented ODC a number of significant changes to the construction plans of the world’s first natural gas to gasoline plant in western Ector County.

The plant which will cost a total of $6-8 billion dollars is described as a transitional fuel manufacturing facility that will produce millions of gallons of cleaner-burning, sulfur-free fuels that can be used in existing trucks and automobiles with no conversion or changes to the vehicle. Nacero’s plant will also be net carbon-zero as all CO2 produced will be captured and recycled for recovery operations in the oilfield and other uses.

Originally expected to be built by Bechtel – a huge multi-national company that specializes in building large industrial facilities around the world – the plant will now be built in phases by a combination of local and state-wide companies. Mr. Bouknight stated that this plan will provide greater local economic impact as well as lower costs and a faster time to market.

Bouknight described several milestones met by the company to make the Nacero plant a reality including closing on the plant’s site near Penwell, striking deals with all mineral rights owners in the area, and securing agreements with local natural gas suppliers for the feedstock for the plant. Nacero has also obtained the necessary Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) permits necessary to begin construction on the plant.

Required environmental remediation work on the site is predicted to begin quickly and Boukman is projecting that a groundbreaking ceremony will be held in late January or early February.

In other action, the ODC received several subcontractor reports and voted to table an economic development request from Rhodes USA, which is seeking to build a cold-formed steel manufacturing plant in the area to supply pre-engineered wall framing units to local builders. 

Rhodes USA supplied some additional requested documentation regarding projected payroll numbers to the ODC compliance committee only a few days before the ODC meeting and the compliance committee didn’t have time to review the new information stated ODC Chair Tim Edgemon who requested the issue be tabled.

Also tabled was a final grant payment to Select Energy. Following the review of the company, officials with ODC requested additional information to verify Select Energy’s payroll numbers and the Assistant City Manager of Administrative Services Cindy Muncy indicated that questions had arisen during a review of the agreement. 

Edgemon moved repeatedly to table the item, but the table motion was objected to by ODC member Chris Cole who questioned why the motion was being requested since the request had been approved by both Weaver and Tidwell, the ODC’s compliance review firm, and the ODC compliance committee. 

A discussion ensued but the motion to table was finally approved by ODC, directing that the Select Energy proposal be sent back to Weaver and Tidwell, as well as the ODC compliance committee for further review.

The next item on the agenda was also tabled. 

At issue was the renewal and extension of the ODC’s contract with Weaver and Tidwell for compliance auditing services and in light of some issues uncovered with the Select Energy request, ODC members quickly moved to table the item.

The next meeting of the Odessa Development Council is scheduled for December 9, 2021, at 2:00 PM in the Odessa City Council Chambers.