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Plans Progressing for Ohio River Ethane Cracker Plant

Jackie Stewart | Energy In Depth-Ohio Published: August 1, 2017 9:19 PM
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Thailand-based firm PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) America has announced it would purchase land along the Ohio River in Belmont County for $13.8 million to build a proposed $6 billion ethane cracker plant. The processing plant will support the record-breaking natural gas production coming out of Ohio by allowing a valuable component of the natural gas, ethane, to be “cracked” locally into ethylene, a feedstock source for the petrochemical industry. To date, a total investment made by possible from revenue generated by Ohio liquor sales and private investment by this company totals approximately $130 million invested over the past 28 months to bring a multi-billion ethane cracker to the Ohio. Although a final decision to build the plant has not been announced, the project would be a game changer for the manufacturing of petrochemical products along the Ohio River. If a look at the development of the Monaca, Pennsylvania Shell ethane cracker is any indicator of things to come in Ohio, the PTTGC is well on its way to moving the project forward.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Royal Dutch Shell announced it would consider building an ethane cracker in 2011, and five years later the company announced a final decision had been made. Looking at Shell’s timeline, it’s clear that the path PTTGC timeline is strikingly similar. If announced as planned, the decision would come a year sooner than then Shell project.

Raise a glass and build an ethane cracker

To date, Ohio’s more than $1 billion in annual liquor sales have poured $17 million into securing PTTGC’s final investment decision.  Here’s how that works: In 2013 Ohio created a private nonprofit, JobsOhio, to entice business development and provide incentive packages for companies like PTTGC to come to the state. JobsOhio acquired Ohio’s liquor sales business to gain a revenue stream and fund these efforts. Operating income from liquor sales made it possible for the state to provide an “aggressive incentive package.” Therefore every mixed drink or shot that’s taken in bars across the Buckeye State have quite literally supported the advancement of this project.

The Buckeye State should see the decision for this multi-billion dollar project to secure the ethane cracker later this year.

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