Continental Carbon breaks ground on $110 million expansion
Beverly Bryant - October 20, 2016 3:50 pm
Ponca City’s Continental Carbon Company today broke ground on an expansion valued at more than $100 million.
The project will implement new technologies which will significantly reduce the company’s permitted air emissions.
Dennis Hetu, President and C.O.O. of the company, attended the groundbreaking from his office in Houston and said he signed the papers for a $120 million loan to fund the project on Monday.
Hetu said the project will mean up to 30 additional jobs at the Ponca City plant.
“Beginning in late 2016, construction will begin on the emission reduction, energy recovery and co-generation systems,” Hetu said.
“The combined systems will allow Continental Carbon-Ponca City to convert waste energy into usable energy and further reduce our emissions footprint on the environment,” Hetu said. “All phases of the project should be completed in 2018.”
Hetu said the massive project is, in large part, because of the local community’s engagement with the company.
“This is in Ponca City for Ponca City,” he said. “We’re going to build a monster facility. This plant is one of the largest and most strategic in our company. This facility makes or breaks our company.”
He said the investment he is making in the plant secures its strategic growth.
“We are going to be here forever,” Hetu said. “We won’t be selling the plant in a year or two.”
He said the investment is the company’s largest expenditure ever.
“It is more than all the other expenditures in the past 20 years combined,” Hetu said.
He said the plant addition will take waste energy from the stacks of the current carbon black operation to generate more than 250 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.
“We will create enough energy to supply 24,000 homes,” Hetu said. “In all of Kay County, there are 21,000 homes. We want to show that we can generate energy and make our product, and we don’t need the wind.”
Babcock & Wilcox of North Carolina is providing the engineering and equipment procurement for the Ponca City project as well as a second Continental Carbon plant in Alabama. The Alabama plant is expected to be brought online in 2019 or 2020.
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Continental Carbon operates production facilities in Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas.
Throughout the years, Continental Carbon has been at the forefront of carbon black technology development, and its technology is licensed to various third party end users globally.
Continental Carbon Company was organized in 1936 as a partnership between R.I. Wishnick, Continental Oil, and Shamrock Oil & Gas. The first carbon black plant was built that same year in Sunray, Texas.
In 1954, the second plant started production in Ponca City.
Continental Carbon is a recognized leader in the development and manufacture of carbon blacks used in tire, rubber, and other specialty applications.
Turning the first shovel of dirt for the Continental Carbon expansion are Laurence Beliel with the Ponca City Development Authority; Vance Johnson, Kay County Commissioner District 1; Ponca City Mayor Homer Nicholson; Phillip Burton, Plant Manager; Dennis Hetu, President and COO Continental Carbon Company; and Rob Nebergall with Babcock & Wilcox Company.