The underlying economics are still good and the concept remains solid, but the prospect of finding enough qualified people to actually build and staff it is too daunting – at least for now. Such are the conclusions of Houston-based Appalachian Resins, Inc. (AR), whose board earlier this month decided to put its "less-than-world-scale" ethane cracker project in Monroe County, Ohio, on hold.
"Looking at the timing, we are not able to get ahead of the two other projects," Bob Mifflin, AR's president, told Rigzone.
The "two other projects" to which Mifflin refers are world-scale ethane crackers proposed by PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) and partner Marubeni Corp. in Belmont County, Ohio, and Shell Chemical in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Like AR, PTTGC/Marubeni and Shell have been considering building ethane crackers in Appalachia to leverage plentiful natural gas liquids (NGL) feedstocks from the region's Marcellus and Utica shale plays.
Mifflin explained that the larger, multibillion-dollar projects are on track to reach critical development milestones before AR. For instance, he noted that Shell has already secured its air permit and land for the facility. Consortia led by Bechtel Enterprises Holdings Inc. and Fluor Corp. are spearheading preliminary front-end engineering design work and cost estimates for the PTTGC/Marubeni project, President and CEO of PTTGC Supattanapong Punmeechaow, said Sept. 3, during the project announcement with Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Thailand-based PTTGC expects the project's feasibility study to conclude within the next year.Read more by clicking right here.
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