April 22–One proposal to build an ethane cracker in Appalachia took a step forward this week while another hit a delay as companies mull the economics behind spending billions of dollars to convert shale gas to chemicals.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced Wednesday that PTT Global Chemical, Thailand’s largest integrated petrochemical and refining company, along with Marubeni Corp., a Japanese company, picked a spot and will begin a permitting process seen as an early step to building a multibillion-dollar plant in Belmont County, west of Wheeling, W.Va.
“This is a very significant step, but there is still much work to be done,” said Matt Englehart, a spokesman for JobsOhio, an economic development nonprofit.
Cracker plants such as this, and those proposed by Royal Dutch Shell in Beaver County and by a Brazilian partnership in West Virginia, strip ethane from shale gas and convert it to ethylene to make plastics.
Industry leaders and economic development…
Plant handling natural-gas component would be Thai-Japanese venture; final decision expected in 2016
It is not every day that elected officials from Appalachian Ohio get to announce the possibility of a multibillion-dollar development.
So Belmont County leaders had reason to enjoy news yesterday that a planned ethane “cracker” plant is envisioned for a site near the Ohio River. And they hope the news will be followed in about a year with a firm commitment by developers to build the project.
“This potentially can be, from a fiscal standpoint, one of the biggest developments ever in Ohio,” said Mark Thomas, a Belmont County commissioner. “To have it, potentially, in Belmont County, in southeastern Ohio, in Appalachia, is incredible.”
The developers are PTT Global Chemical of Thailand, a giant chemical and fuel-refining company, and Marubeni Corp. of Japan.
A cracker plant takes ethane — a component of…
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Thai petrochemical and refining company is considering Belmont County as a possible site to build a refinery that would make ethylene and other plastics from shale gas.
PTT Global Chemical, Thailand’s largest integrated petrochemical and refining company and the Marubeni Corp., a Japanese investment adviser, have discussed the project for the last two years with JobsOhio and its regional arm, the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth.
If built, such a refinery, often called a “cracker,” could cost several billion dollars, create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs.
Before choosing Belmont County, the developers looked at sites in the entire region where gas producers have been drilling wells in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The prolific production of these wells has led to steep declines in the price of regional gas, and for now, a slowdown in further drilling.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Instead of seeing local ethane flow to Gulf Coast petrochemical plants, Belmont County officials hope a pair of Asian firms will use the liquid to employ thousands of construction workers and hundreds of permanent employees via a $5 billion cracker complex.
On Wednesday, Belmont County commissioners and Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical and Tokyo’s Marubeni Corp. will decide before the end of 2016 whether they will turn the former FirstEnergy R.E. Burger site and some surrounding property into an ethane cracker.
“I think you will see this plant come to fruition simply based upon the fact of where we are located,” Commissioner Mark Thomas said when asked why an ethane producer would send their natural gas liquid to this proposed facility as opposed to sending it southward for cracking in conduits.
“The location makes sense because of where…