OOGA: Cracker Plants Would Turn Ethane from Expense into Cash

There are three potential, large scale ethane cracker plants in play in the Marcellus/Utica region: Shell with a proposed plant in Beaver County, PA; Odebrecht with a proposed plant in Wood County, WV; and PTT Global Chemical with a proposed plant in Belmont County, OH. Of the three, Shell’s project seems the most likely to get built. The Odebrect plant is on hold, and the PTT plant is the new kid with lots of fanfare–but it’s way to early to gauge whether or not it’s a serious venture. We’ve written a number of stories over the years about the enormous economic benefits of a cracker plant–the jobs in building the plant, and then the jobs at the plant and the jobs for dozens/perhaps hundreds of satellite plants that will locate near it. The economic impact from a single cracker plant is upward of a staggering $20 billion. One of the often overlooked and little-talked-about aspects of the plants is what it will do for drillers. Right now a lot of ethane, the hydrocarbon that will feed these plants, is being produced in the tri-state area of PA, WV and OH. And right now ethane is an expense. Ethane is costing drillers money! They have to dispose of it somehow. When a cracker plant opens, drillers can then sell ethane to the plant and make money on ethane. It magically turns from an expense into cash…

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