With potential local profits flowing to either the Gulf Coast or Canada, the head of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association hopes at least one cracker plant opens in the Marcellus and Utica shale region.
"Currently, it is more of a waste than an asset," Shawn Bennett, senior vice president of the association, said of ethane, one of the natural gas liquids prevalent in wet shale gas. "We are in need of an ethane cracker in this region to help us gain value. That would help increase demand, which would help us get more drilling going again."
Next year, officials with Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical and Tokyo's Marubeni Corp. are scheduled to decide whether they will build a $5 billion ethane cracker complex that would likely include the 130-acre R.E. Burger plant site and some surrounding property, south of Shadyside. FirstEnergy Corp. still owns the coal-fired power plant that it can still use on a reserve basis, but plans to close it entirely May 31, 2016.
Other potential cracker plants in the Marcellus and Utica region include the Odebrecht ASCENT Project possibility for Wood County, W.Va., as well as the Royal Dutch Shell plant that could open in Monaca, Pa. Both Odebrecht and Shell have already applied for air quality permits to allow construction of their plants, but have not indicated a final investment decision.Click here to continue reading.
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