Small but Determined Group Wants to Block Ohio Cracker Plant

Last week the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency held an information session (to give out info) along with a public hearing (to accept comments) on the draft air pollution permit for PTT Global Chemical’s proposed ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see Ohio EPA to Hold Air Permit Hearing for PTT Cracker Nov. 27). Some 100 or so people turned up for the hearing, according to media accounts. Perhaps 35 people spoke during the public comment period. There were both supporters and detractors. We suppose we knew there were folks opposed to the project, but this is really the first time we’ve read about an organized effort to stop the project. That effort comes from the usual (irrational) anti-fossil fuel suspects who oppose all drilling, pipelines, and anything else to do with fossil fuels.
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Ohio EPA to Hold Water Permit Hearing for PTT Cracker Dec. 12

Still no sign from PTT Global Chemical that they will announce a final decision to proceed with building a $6 billion ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH, by the end of this year. The project was first announced in April 2015 (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time, PTT has purchased land, paid $100 million to get the cracker facility designed, and repeatedly said a final investment decision (FID) is imminent. It’s been imminent for more than two years now.
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Ohio EPA to Hold Air Permit Hearing for PTT Cracker Nov. 27

PTT Global Chemical announced in April 2015 they want to build a $6 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time, PTT has purchased land, paid $100 million to get the cracker facility designed, and repeatedly said a final investment decision (FID) is imminent. It’s been imminent for more than two years now. Belmont County officials recently said the decision is coming “by the end of this year” (see Belmont, OH Leaders Say PTT Cracker Decision Coming This Year). But we’ve read comments by others who say the decision won’t happen until sometime next year (see Rumblings that PTT Will Once Again Delay OH Cracker Decision). We finally have some signs of life that a decision is, indeed, coming soon.
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Belmont, OH Leaders Say PTT Cracker Decision Coming This Year

Last Friday three county commissioners from Belmont County, OH took a field trip to visit Beaver County, PA, touring the Shell ethane cracker site and talking with Beaver County officials about how the project has impacted that area. Tuesday night, a member of the Potter Township (PA) Board of Supervisors came to a meeting of local leaders in Belmont County, to talk about the Shell cracker project and what such a project in Belmont could do for the Ohio Valley. PTT Global Chemical is supposedly close to making a final investment decision on building a cracker in Belmont. The interesting comment coming from Tuesday’s meeting was about the timing of a decision to build the PTT cracker: “It [the decision] will be revealed by the end of the year.” So says Belmont officials.
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Rumblings that PTT Will Once Again Delay OH Cracker Decision

PTT Global Chemical announced in April 2015 they want to build a $6 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time PTT has purchased land, paid $100 million to get the cracker facility designed, and repeatedly said a final investment decision (FID) is imminent. It’s been imminent for more than two years now, and rumor has it the decision is delayed yet again.
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Local Leaders Get Ready for Belmont County, OH Cracker Plant

It sure feels like PTT Global Chemical, the Thailand-based petrochemical giant that says it wants to build an ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH, is getting close to making a positive final investment decision (FID). On Monday we told you that an Ohio State Representative, Andy Thompson, said such a decision will be forthcoming in “a month or so” (see PTT Decision on Ohio Cracker Announced in Next “Month or So”). We have more evidence of an impending decision. Recently two dozen local county officials, from both sides of the Ohio River, went on a field trip to Beaver County where Shell is building their $6 billion ethane cracker. The officials wanted to see, first-hand, how the project is impacting the local area. They got eyes- and earsful. They came back jazzed. Here’s our point: A horde of local officials doesn’t traipse around the countryside wasting time unless they are convinced the project is going to happen. From the language this group of officials is using, and their overall demeanor, we’d say the PTT Belmont cracker is a happening project…
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PTT Decision on Ohio Cracker Announced in Next “Month or So”

Sometimes you spot an innocent, off-the-cuff remark that’s not really part of the intended story–but has huge meaning. Such was the case when we spotted a story quoting Ohio House of Representatives member Andy Thompson (Republican, 95th District covering Carroll, Harrison and Noble counties, and portions of Washington and Belmont counties). Thompson, who (to his credit) is not running for reelection after four terms [NOTE: a sharp MDN reader emailed to say Mr. Thompson was term-limited out and could not run again], gave a speech at the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association last week in St. Clairsville. In his remarks, Thompson talked about the work of Shale Crescent USA, an economic development organization formed a few years ago to encourage business growth in the Ohio Valley based on low natural gas prices that allow manufacturers to operate more efficiently–with easy access to half the population of the United States and Canada. Although Thompson’s focus was not on the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker project potentially planned for Belmont County, he had some VERY interesting remarks about that project and others like it…
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PTT Awards Belmont Cracker Engineering Contract to Bechtel

PTT has awarded the contract to build the Belmont, OH ethane cracker to Bechtel. At least, that’s the rumor swirling around. We have to say right up front, this information has not yet been announced and therefore is not 100% verified–but we’ve talked to a highly placed industry source and we believe it to be accurate. Below we offer insight into why we believe this information is accurate, and why PTT has not yet made their official final investment decision (FID) announcement, and when they might do so…
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Industry Expert Says 3 More Crackers Coming to M-U

Last week the second annual Appalachian Storage Hub Conference convened at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe. As we pointed out in a post last week, the main topic of discussion was the $10 billion NGL/ethane storage hub (see Southpointe Event Focuses on M-U NGL Storage Hub). As big as the storage hub project is (and the news surrounding it), there was even bigger news coming from the event: 3 more ethane cracker projects for the Marcellus/Utica are likely to announce in the coming year! Tom Gellrich, principal of Top Line Analytics, talks to a lot of people. He’s an insider. At last week’s event, Tom shared some of his insights. He said PTT Global will commit to its previously announced cracker in Belmont County, OH, sometime this year. No real revelation there–we’ve been expecting such an announcement for the past two years. That’s one of three. Then Tom said the on again, off again Braskem/Odebrecht plan to build a cracker near Parkersburg, WV is on again and he expects an announcement to that effect in the next year. Wow! That’s two of three. And then Tom teased the crowd by saying there’s a THIRD project bubbling in the background. No details on who is behind it or where it will be located. Tom says to look for an announcement on this third cracker project by this time next year. Bonus: Tom believes Shell will take a hard look at building a new/second cracker right next to the first, after the first is completed (a fourth new cracker?). We have embarrassing riches of ethane crackers! Each one costing multiple billions of dollars to build…
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PTT Buys Another 300+ Acres for Belmont County, OH Cracker

In yet another very good sign that the proposed PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH is headed for a positive final investment decision (FID), PTT has just purchased another 300+ acres to go along with the previous acreage they purchased as the site for the future cracker/petrochemical project. Last July MDN reported PTT had spent $13.8 million to buy 168 acres at the proposed site for a second Appalachia ethane cracker, in Belmont County, OH (see PTT Global Buys Land for Belmont, OH Ethane Cracker Plant). That site, the former R.E. Burger power plant property (owned by FirstEnergy Corp.), is the primary location for the proposed cracker. However, more land is needed. A deed filed earlier this week shows that PTT has purchased another 300+ acres for $17.5 million from the Ohio-West Virginia Excavating company. Together, both parcels are roughly 500 acres, which is more than enough land for the facility. Until now numbers like $6.5 billion have been thrown around as the total project cost. The number has now gone up–to as much as $10 billion! Here’s the latest good news that it’s looking better and better for a second ethane cracker in Appalachia…
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Still No Deal on Property Next to PTT OH Ethane Cracker Site

Homeowners who live near the location of a possible ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH are running out of time to negotiate a deal to sell their properties. Living next door to a cracker plant is not anyone’s idea of paradise. There will be noise, and smells and (yes) some air pollution coming from the plant. Best to sell now before the plant begins construction. However, representatives for PTT Global Chemical which will build the plant (IF it gets built), say they already have all the land they need for the facility (see PTT Global Buys Land for Belmont, OH Ethane Cracker Plant). Not needing the land puts PTT in a good negotiating position. There are 10 homes in the general vicinity of the proposed cracker plant whose owners want to sell. PTT says they’ve offered the homeowners 125% of fair market value for their homes. The lawyer representing the homeowners says the valuations are not accurate. However, it’s far from being a stand-off. There is no malice or vitriol. It sounds to us like both sides think a deal will get done. It just boils down to finalizing numbers. Here’s the latest on real estate for the proposed Belmont cracker plant…
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PTT Global Ohio Cracker Grows to $10B Project w/New Partner

With much fanfare, yesterday a press event was held in Columbus, OH to make an official announcement of what we already know: that South Korea’s Daelim Chemical, a subsidiary of Daelim Industrial, is now a partner with PTT Global Chemical in the Belmont County ethane cracker project. We previously brought you that news on Feb. 1 (see PTT’s “Big Announcement” – Gets a New Partner for Belmont Cracker). OH Gov. John Kasich along with officials from PTT and Daelim held a presser yesterday to officially announce the partnership, but also to announce that PTT has pulled the trigger on buying more land for the project–a positive sign. There was also talk by all three that the size of the project has grown. Plans are now that the project will cost $7.5-$10 billion to build, and it will have the same daily capacity as the Shell cracker now under construction in PA–using up to 100,000 barrels of ethane per day to make ethylene (raw plastic). Disappointingly, there was no “final investment decision” (FID) announcement. However, Kasich said he is “very hopeful” all three will be back, soon, to make an FID announcement…
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PTT’s “Big Announcement” – Gets a New Partner for Belmont Cracker

PTT Global Chemical, based in Thailand, has snagged a major/important new partner in its project to build a $6 billion ethane cracker complex in Belmont County, Ohio. That partner is Daelim Chemical, a subsidiary of Daelim Industrial, which is one of Asia’s top engineering/construction firms (and one of the largest companies in South Korea). The addition of Daelim is yet another positive sign that PTT will, at some point this year, pull the trigger and make a “final investment decision” (FID) to move forward with the project. PTT disappointed when they didn’t follow through with an FID in 2017, as they had promised. To be fair, these projects are big and a misstep can bankrupt a company. The Belmont cracker will be the largest single investment made by PTT since becoming a company–so we understand their reticence. Still, when you promise, you promise. Just last month, in December 2017, PTT delivered the disappointing news that there would be no FID announcement in 2017, but that there would be a big announcement “in early 2018” (see PTT Global Chemical Officially Delays Cracker Decision Until 2018). We figure the announcement about Daelim must be that announcement. It certainly qualifies as big, and it’s still early in 2018. In football terms (in honor of this weekend’s Superbowl), on Tuesday PTT achieved another first down, retaining possession of the ball (control of the Belmont cracker project), moving it further down the field toward the goal. But they haven’t yet made a touchdown (an FID). Perhaps not learning from past mistakes, PTT set a new expectation that the FID will be made “by the end of 2018″…
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PTT Global Chemical Officially Delays Cracker Decision Until 2018

PTT Global Chemical, based in Thailand, continues to delay a final investment decision (FID) regarding their much-ballyhooed ethane cracker project in Belmont County, OH. In April 2015, PTT announced they are interested in building a ~$5 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). In May 2016, a story in the Bangkok Post said the final investment decision (FID) will definitely come in 2017. In December 2016, Belmont County officials said the FID would come by the end of March this year (see OH Cracker Final Decision Coming Soon, Site Now Cleared & Ready). But in February, PTT said the FID won’t come until “late 2017,” which is “several months later than we originally announced” (see PTT Global Delays Final Investment Decision for OH Ethane Cracker). Two weeks ago a PTT representative said the company will make some sort of an announcement “by the end of the year” (see PTT Global Final Decision re Belmont Cracker Plant Late Again). We now have the announcement: “PTTGC America will have a significant update that will demonstrate momentum for this project early in 2018. We thank all Ohio and Belmont County partners for their support, and we wish you a happy holiday season.” So the big announcement is that there will be another big announcement in “early 2018.” Yeah, we’re becoming irritated at being teased that the decision is just around the corner…
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PTT Global Final Decision re Belmont Cracker Plant Late Again

An MDN reader recently asked us, “Hey, what’s up with the Belmont County, OH ethane cracker? We haven’t read anything in a while.” You haven’t read anything on MDN, nor anywhere else, because there’s been nothing to read. PTT Global Chemical, based in Thailand, announced in April 2015 they are interested in building a $5 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). In May 2016, a story in the Bangkok Post said the final investment decision (FID) will definitely come in 2017, but they called the decision “delayed.” PTT disagreed with that assessment, saying a decision coming in 2016 or 2017 is not “delayed” (see PTT Global Says Belmont, OH Ethane Cracker NOT Delayed). In December 2016, Belmont County officials said the FID would come by the end of March this year (see OH Cracker Final Decision Coming Soon, Site Now Cleared & Ready). But in February, PTT said the FID won’t come until “late 2017,” which is “several months later than we originally announced” (see PTT Global Delays Final Investment Decision for OH Ethane Cracker). It’s pretty “late” in 2017, wouldn’t you say? A company representative says the company will make some sort of an announcement “by the end of the year,” but that’s all he will say. It certainly doesn’t seem as if an FID is in the cards in the next three weeks…
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Locals Pumped About OH Cracker; WV Cracker Still Not Dead

Belmont County Port Authority Director Larry Merry says he “can’t think of a single reason” why PTT Global Chemical won’t build a promised $6 billion ethane cracker facility in Dilles Bottom. Mike Jacoby, VP of business development for the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth concurs, saying he is “optimistic” and sees “no problems” ahead for the PTT cracker. In addition to locals in Ohio pumped about the PTT cracker and the promised final investment decision by the end of this year, there is still hope for a cracker plant in West Virginia too. WV officials say Braskem is still expressing interest in a cracker project in the Parkersburg area. Here’s some of the chitter-chatter among pumped-up officials attending a forum last month in Wheeling, WV…
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