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Monday, September 18, 2017

Decision to Be Made on Belmont County Cracker Plant by End of Year

From the Weirton Daily Times:
An ethane cracker with a cost estimate as high as $6 billion could be confirmed before the end of 2017, a project Belmont County Port Authority Director Larry Merry said would allow the Upper Ohio Valley to export finished products instead of young natives who cannot find careers. 
“I can’t think of a single reason they wouldn’t come here,” Merry said of the proposed Dilles Bottom PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker, while speaking during a Thursday forum at the Ogden Newspapers Printing & Technology Center in Wheeling. Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council Executive Director Ginny Favede, who previously served eight years as a Belmont County commissioner, organized the event. 
“We are optimistic,” added Mike Jacoby, who serves as vice president of business development for Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth. “We see no problems.” 
Officials with Thailand-based PTT have said they plan to make a final decision on the project by the end of this year. If the massive endeavor comes to fruition, it could generate thousands of construction jobs, as well as hundreds of permanent petrochemical jobs once the plant enters operation. Thousands of “spin-off” jobs could result from the ethane cracker’s presence, officials have said.
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Meanwhile, those in the area are anticipating the economic benefits that would follow the construction of the plant.  From The Intelligencer:
Although Wheeling is about 13 miles north of the proposed PTT Global Chemical petrochemical plant, Mayor Glenn Elliott said the Friendly City could become a “corporate headquarters” for some of the companies that may follow the development. 
“It’s almost all going to be a net positive,” Elliott said after listening to speakers during a forum about the potential ethane cracker held Thursday at the Ogden Newspapers Printing & Technology Center in Wheeling. 
“It is in our interest that this project be built in Belmont County,” he added. “We have to forget about arbitrary lines and boundaries.” 
The proposed giant plant would accept ethane pumped from Marcellus and Utica shale wells, which remains in overabundance because there is still no cracker in the region. The technology would transform this material into ethylene, which can be used to make plastics, textiles and pharmaceuticals.
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