By Wyatt Goolsby
FORT STOCKTON - Construction will soon start on a more than one billion dollar gas plant, and that means hundreds of job openings in Pecos County.
"It's a very large project, and takes a lot of time and a lot of money," Tom Ward, CEO of Sandridge Energy, said on Wednesday.
It's a big project years in the making. On Wednesday, Sandridge Energy and Oxy Permian broke ground on their Century Plant Project.
"To us, it was sort of a match made in heaven," Oxy Permian President William Albrecht, added.
A match because of the amount of money officials said is underneath the ground in Pecos County.
"We believe we sit on top of our lease hold that we own and where the century plant is, sits atop the best reservior in the United States to produce natural gas from," Ward explained.
Translation: Jobs. Officials said the 2-year building period can bring in dozens of permanent jobs and hundreds of construction opportunities.
"It's obvious, it's a huge project," Doug May, with the Ft. Stockton Economic Development Corporation, said. He added it's a plus, especially after some recent layoffs.
"We have lost some jobs in the drilling platforms and laying down some rigs, and we'll be able to offset that with these construction jobs, so we are very very fortunate the plant is getting built," May explained.
May said while the plant itself can't make up for all the oilfield jobs lost, he said he's optimistic because of the direct benefit to Fort Stockton residents.
"Locally, I think we'll offset the majority of them, because a lot of the jobs we lost was from people who didn't reside here, and they didn't move here to work," May said. "I think our local residents are going to have a real opportunity if they have lost their jobs in the drilling field to get a construction job."
For many, it's hopefully a start to a big boom in Pecos County.