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PTT Taps Swiss Company INEOS for OH Cracker Plant Technology

Yet another piece of the Belmont County, OH ethane cracker falls into place–further indicating the project is likely to get built. It was only April of this year that MDN brought you the announcement that partners PTT Global Chemical (based in Thailand) and Marubeni Corporation (financial company based in Japan) were teaming up to potentially build a new $5.7 billion ethane cracker/petrochemical complex in Belmont County (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time, PTT hasn’t let any grass grow under its feet. Already PTT (and Marubeni) are spending $100 million with Bechtel Enterprises and Fluor Corporation to design the plant (see PTT Announces 2 Contractors Working on Belmont Cracker Plant). PTT has also signed an option to buy the property where they plan to build the plant (see 300 Acres Next to FirstEnergy Site Part of Belmont Cracker Plan). All very good signs that this is indeed a serious project moving forward. And now, another piece of the puzzle falls into place. INEOS Technologies, a Swiss-based petrochemical technology company, announced they have been selected to provide a key piece of the technology for the new Belmont cracker plant…
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Odebrecht’s WV Ethane Cracker Plant May Not be Dead After All

stoppress.jpgWait a minute! We thought the proposed Odebrecht ethane cracker plant near Parkersburg in Wood County, WV was all but dead. Lifeless. In April the company said it was “re-evaluating plans” to build it (see Odebrecht Pushes the Pause Button on WV Ethane Cracker). In June, Odebrecht’s Brazilian CEO was arrested, casting further doubt on the project (see Odebrecht CEO Arrested; What Does it Mean for WV Cracker Plant?). Since that time we’ve seen a bit of cheerleading and some empty platitudes from WV Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin who hasn’t given up on the project (see WV Gov Tomblin Continues to Cheerlead for Wood Co. Cracker Plant). But we didn’t detect a pulse. Both the Shell cracker (in PA) and PTT Global cracker (in OH) have had robust developments that indicate those plants are making serious progress. But nothing for the Odebrecht project all year long–that is, until now…
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Expert Tells Utica Conference NE Will See “3 or 4” Cracker Plants

three or fourAn expert speaking at the Utica Summit III yesterday in Stark, OH said he believes the Marcellus/Utica region will see three, possibly four, ethane crackers built. Tom Gellrich of consulting firm TopLine Analytics, a company that “closely follows ethane markets,” said he thinks the first ethane cracker to get built will be the Shell cracker plant in Beaver County, PA…
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MarkWest Exec Says Ethane Storage Key Issue for NE Cracker Plants

ethane tank

Ethane tank in Grangemouth, Scotland – click for larger version

At yesterday’s sessions of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) conference at Oglebay Park (Wheeling), WV, MarkWest Energy’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer Greg Floerke talked about natural gas liquids (NGLs)–specially ethane–and the need for a regional ethane cracker plant. Floerke said MarkWest currently processes around 75% of all NGLs in the Marcellus/Utica region and that his company alone could provide enough ethane for several cracker plants. However, for those considering the prospect of spending billions of dollars to build a cracker plant, Floerke says there is a key issue–storage. Cracker plants want to be assured there will be a steady supply and one way you get steady supplies is with storage…
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AR “Baby” Cracker Plant in Monroe County, OH Put on Hold

on holdIn February 2013 MDN brought you news about plans from Appalachian Resins (AR) to build a polyethelene (PE) manufacturing plant complete with a “baby” ethane cracker. The original plan was to build it in the Wheeling, WV area. However, a year later the location shifted across the border to Monroe County, OH. As late as April of this year AR was still committed to the project (see Ohio “Baby Cracker” Plant Still a Go – 2018 Startup Date). Turns out commitment is a fickle thing when it comes to cracker plants–either baby or fully grown. AR recently revealed they have put their “baby cracker” plant project on hold. The leaders of AR say with both Shell and the PTT Global projects heating up, they don’t believe there will be enough talent in the region to build their project. Interestingly, the CEO of AR says he firmly believes the PTT Global project (a company based in Thailand) will get built–but not for the reason you might expect (i.e., economics)…
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Shell Paying $80M to Clean Up PA Site for Ethane Cracker Plant

positive signShell continues to work (and spend money) on a site in Beaver County, Pennsylvania that will one day hopefully be the home of an ethane cracker plant. The most recent positive sign that Shell will move forward with the project is that they are in the process of building a bridge over a highway for trucks to access the site as they work on site preparation and building (see Shell Begins Building Bridge to PA Cracker Plant Site). The newest evidence that Shell will move forward with the project is their plan to deal with leftover contamination at the site. The site is a former zinc smelter and there are high levels of very nasty stuff in the soil at the site, including lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury. Shell plans to cover the site, locking in the nasty stuff–a project that will cost them $80 million and take two years to complete…
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WV Gov Tomblin Continues to Cheerlead for Wood Co. Cracker Plant

cheerleaderThe one ethane cracker plant project announced for the Marcellus/Utica region that once seemed the mostly likely to proceed now seems the least likely to move forward–the Brazilian-based Odebrecht project planned for Wood County, WV. The ASCENT (Appalachina Shale Cracker Enterprise) project seemed to have the most momentum in 2014 (see Odebrecht’s WV Ethane Cracker has The Big Mo–Momentum). But then the price of oil crashed and clouds started to appear for the project. In April Odebrecht pushed the pause button on the project (see Odebrecht Pushes the Pause Button on WV Ethane Cracker). Odebrecht itself has been caught up in scandal in Brazil and it’s CEO was arrested in June (see Odebrecht CEO Arrested; What Does it Mean for WV Cracker Plant?). Both the Shell cracker project in Pennsylvania, which once seemed unlikely, and a new ethane cracker project for Ohio, have both since made significant progress, making the Odebrecht project seem all the more unlikely. However, WV Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is still cheerleading for his state’s cracker plant. He recently said, “We feel very strongly they’ll continue to build the cracker plant”…
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Sunoco Logistics Planning Propane Cracker Plant for Marcus Hook Site

who knewAn interesting article in the Philadelphia Inquirer provides some of the history, and an update, for the Marcus Hook refinery in the Philly area. You may recall that Sunoco Logistics Partners purchased the refinery and is in the process of turning it into an NGL export facility–to send ethane, propane and other NGLs to locations along the U.S. coastline and internationally to Europe. What you may not know (what we sure didn’t know) is that Sunoco LP hopes to one day build a propane cracker at the site–a facility that will convert propane into propylene, the raw material used to make plastics. Who knew?! This would be yet another cracker plant that would compete, in a small way, with the proposed Shell cracker plant planned for the Pittsburgh area…
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Whatever Happened to Aither Chemical, WV’s “Small” Cracker Plant?

what happenedMore than 3 1/2 years ago (in January 2012) MDN told you about a plan in West Virginia to use a process patented by Union Carbide in the 1970s to build an ethane cracker plant on the cheap–much less than the typical “world scale” crackers announced by Shell, Odebrecht and others since that time (see Another New Entrant in the Ethane Cracker Plant Sweepstakes). The company created to build the WV “cheaper” cracker plant was called Aither Chemical, a creating of a non-profit funded, in part, by the State of WV. What ever happened to that project?…
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PTT Announces 2 Contractors Working on Belmont Cracker Plant

third base heading for homeAs we told you yesterday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich horned in on a visit by Thailand-based PTT Global CEO Supattanapong Punmeechaow to Belmont County where Punmeechaow announced his company will spend $100 million over the next 9-12 months on a potential ethane cracker plant complex (see PTT CEO Arrives in OH to Announce First $100M for Cracker Plant). PTT has said all along a final decision about whether or not to build the plant won’t happen until 2016 or 2017. Gov. Kasich has a bit more cheery (Pollyanna?) perspective, saying in baseball terms the project is already rounding third base and heading toward home plate. We hope he’s right, but we’ve been led down the primrose path before when it comes to cracker projects (cough *Odebrecht* cough). We do know the name for two of the companies that will receive at least some of (perhaps most of) the $100 million PTT is spending over the next year…
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PTT CEO Arrives in OH to Announce First $100M for Cracker Plant

positive signOhio Gov. John Kasich, who is having trouble getting anyone to notice he’s running for president (predictably, nobody cares when an establishment RINO runs), will swoop in at a press conference today at 3 pm in Belmont County, OH to announce that foreigners from Thailand-based PTT Global and Marubeni Corp. of Tokyo will drop $100 million on Ohio to conduct engineering and design work for a previously announced potential ethane cracker plant in the county (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Kasich doesn’t like “foreigners” from exotic places like Texas and Oklahoma working in the oil and gas fields of Ohio (see Ohio Gov. John Kasich Jazzed About Chesapeake Striking Oil in the Utica Shale – Refers to Potential Out-of-State Workers as “Foreigners” and OH Gov. Kasich Continues Trash Talk Out-of-State Workers). But if you’re a foreigner from, you know, a foreign country? And you have a few billion dollars to drop in the state? That’s A.O.K. for the son of a postal worker turned Congressman turned career politician turned RINO turned governor. But let’s not get lost in the tortured politics of John Kasich. Let’s celebrate the fact that PTT Global CEO Supattanapong Punmeechaow, from Thailand, is flying over to attend today’s announcement. That’s a very positive sign indeed that this potential $5 billion project, which we’re now reading has been upgraded closer to $6 billion, is on track to become a reality…
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Shell Begins Building Bridge to PA Cracker Plant Site

bridge to somewhereShell continues to act as if it has already made the decision to build a $2-$3 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Beaver County, PA, even though they continue to refuse to say they’ve made a decision. What’s our evidence? In June Shell finally purchased the land where the cracker will be built, the former Horsehead zinc smelter property in Potter that will be the primary location of the cracker plant IF it gets built (see Shell Buys Beaver County, PA Property for Future Cracker Plant). Also in June Shell received an air quality permit from the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (see Shell Receives Air Quality Permit from PA DEP for Cracker Plant), a critical authorization for them to proceed. The latest evidence? Shell just began construction of a bridge to haul dirt over a major highway without disrupting traffic…
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Shell Receives Air Quality Permit from PA DEP for Cracker Plant

Finally, after months and months of waiting, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has granted an air quality permit that allows Shell to operate a proposed ethane cracker plant in Monaca (Beaver County), PA. MDN told you the DEP signaled they would approve the air quality permit back in March (see PA DEP Signals Approval for Shell Ethane Cracker Air Quality Plan). Three months later the DEP finally issued the permit–no small miracle given the agency is now run by PennFuture DEP Sec. John Quigley. Shell had stated getting the permit would be a “critical” step in the process to moving forward. Now that they have the permit, what kinds of encouraging words do we have from Shell? The permit “does not mean we have made a final decision to build the project.” Which is the same standard line they’ve delivered since 2011 when this whole process began (see Shell Commits to Building a Billion Dollar Chemical Plant in the Marcellus Region of U.S.). Four years of being teased with this project has led us to think we’ve contracted post traumatic cracker disorder (PTCD)…
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Odebrecht CEO Arrested; What Does it Mean for WV Cracker Plant?

Scandal has rocked Odebrecht, the Brazilian company that in November 2013 announced it wants to build a $4 billion ethane cracker plant complex near Parkersburg, WV (see WV Announces Brazilian Company to Build Ethane Cracker Complex). Marcelo Odebrecht, president and CEO of Odebrecht SA–one of the largest construction companies in South America–was recently arrested for being part of a plan that stole “billions of dollars” from Brazil’s state-run Petrobras oil company. His arrest raises legitimate questions about the viability of the proposed Parkersburg ethane cracker project. We can all pretend that the arrest of the CEO of the company proposing to build the plant has little or no effect on the future of the project–but we’re not children. So let’s not pretend. What do you think is occupying Mr. Odebrecht’s attention these days–building a petrochemical plant in far-off West Virginia, or staying out of jail?…
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Shell Buys Beaver County, PA Property for Future Cracker Plant

Another positive sign that Shell may move forward with building a $2-$3 billion ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA. Yesterday it was reported that Shell closed on the former Horsehead zinc smelter property in Potter that would be the primary location of the cracker plant. Previously Shell extended their option to buy the property–three different times. They’ve finally bought the property–for $13.5 million according to the deed transfer, although it’s quite possible Shell paid way more than that for the property. One real estate expert in the area said the property is worth $75-$100 million. In addition to buying the old Horsehead site, Shell, over time, has also purchased 12 other parcels in the area…
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OH Gov Kasich Keeps Cracker Plant “Incentives” a Secret–for Now

it's a secretWe continue to find it deliciously ironic that the jingoistic man who hates having “foreigners” from places like Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana come to work in his state in the oil and gas fields, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, is the man who is desperately courting a Thai and Japanese joint venture to invest billions in his state. Along with that investment will come workers from those countries. We’re talking, of course, about the recent announcement that that PTT Global Chemical, Thailand’s largest integrated petrochemical and refining company, and money partner Marubeni Corporation, a Japan-based company, have selected Belmont County, OH as the location to build a $5 billion ethane cracker plant complex (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). The key negotiator of the deal is JobsOhio, which is an agency set up by Kasich to promote the state. That is, JobsOhio = John Kasich. Now we learn, from none other than PTT, that JobsOhio/Kasich offered “an aggressive incentive package” to lure the project there. How aggressive? JobsOhio (i.e. Kasich) is keeping the details of the incentive package secret until PTT signs the paperwork to proceed with the project–something that won’t happen for at least a year or two…
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