Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Meets with PTT re Cracker – Still No FID

PTT Ohio cracker site (click for larger version)

Near the end the year for the past 3-4 years we inevitably hear that PTT Global Chemical will not, as promised or implied, make a final investment decision (FID) about building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, Ohio, but that the FID will instead happen “next year.” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (RINO) met with PTT representatives yesterday to discuss the project. No announcements. No new promises. No FID announced. Another disappointment (cue George Michael song “Last Christmas”).
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ExxonMobil Considers Philadelphia Area for Ethane Cracker Plant

MDN previously reported on the rumor that ExxonMobil is sniffing around southwestern Pennsylvania looking for a site to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant (see Exxon Mobil Sniffing Around SWPA to Build Second Cracker Plant). We then told you Exxon is not only looking in Beaver County (where Shell is building it’s cracker) but also in nearby Washington and Greene counties too (see Exxon Widens Search to Build SWPA Cracker Plant to Other Counties). But what’s this? We now read about another rumor–that Exxon is also considering southeast PA, the Philadelphia area!
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South Korea Buys 50% Stake in M-U’s UTOPIA Ethane Pipeline

UTOPIA route (click for larger version)

In January 2016, Kinder Morgan committed to building the UTOPIA (Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access) pipeline, a 12-inch ethane pipeline that would run 286 miles across the state of Ohio where it would connect with another pipeline to flow Marcellus/Utica ethane all the way to a cracker plant in Canada (see Kinder Morgan Ready to Move Forward with UTOPIA East Pipeline). In January 2018 UTOPIA went online (see UTOPIA has Arrived! KM OH Pipe Flowing Ethane to Canadian Cracker). Kinder’s 50% joint venture partner in UTOPIA, Riverstone Holdings, announced yesterday it has sold its interest to a consortium of South Korean companies.
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WV Commerce Secretary Says His State *Will* Get a Cracker Plant

It seems like MDN has reported on the possibility that an ethane cracker plant would get built somewhere in West Virginia forever–at least back to 2013 when then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin went to Europe looking for a cracker (see Did Gov Tomblin Find a European Investor for a WV Cracker Plant?). For a while it seemed there was a legit cracker project heading to Wood County, in the Parkersburg area, from Odebrecht/Braskem (see WV Announces Brazilian Company to Build Ethane Cracker Complex). That plan eventually petered out. But WV has not given up hope. In a visit to Jackson County on Wednesday, WV Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch said he believes a cracker plant will come to the Mountain State. When?
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PA One of Two Finalists for “Massive” Ethane Storage Hub

The Appalachia Development Group (ADG) is leading an effort to build a ~$3.3 billion NGL storage hub in Appalachia. From the start, the thinking has been the storage hub would be located somewhere in West Virginia (see WV’s US Senators Lead the Charge to Build $10B NGL Storage Hub). But what’s this? ADG Chairman and CEO Steven Hedrick, speaking at a conference last week, confirmed potential sites for the project have been narrowed down to two. And one of those sites, according to “sources” (not Hedrick), is located in southwestern Pennsylvania.
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Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID

Credit: WTOV (click for larger version)

It’s that time of year again, when we hear rumors that PTT Global Chemical will make a final investment decision (FID) about their $7.5 billion ethane cracker project planned for Dilles Bottom in Belmont County, OH. The decision is always “coming soon.” Hopefully. Maybe. Any day now. But maybe not until next year. Can you tell we’ve grown weary of the rumors? This time it might (underscore MIGHT) be different. This time it’s not rumor but some action that caught our interest. Steubenville, Ohio TV station WTOV has video of dirt being pushed around at the site. Which we take to be a good omen.
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Exxon Widens Search to Build SWPA Cracker Plant to Other Counties

Pittsburgh Business Times ace reporter Paul Gough has done it again–breaking big news related to ExxonMobil and their very active search to locate a site in the Pittsburgh region to build a gigantic ethane cracker plant. This time Paul’s sources are telling him Exxon has widened their search. A few weeks ago we told you Exxon was looking for potential locations in Beaver County, PA, near where Shell is building their $8 billion cracker plant (see Exxon Mobil Sniffing Around SWPA to Build Second Cracker Plant). Paul learned the search has widened to at least two other southwest PA counties.
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Making the Case for Crackers, Other Petchem Plants in SWPA

Speaking of cracker plants and the exciting news that ExxonMobil is very actively searching for a location in the Marcellus/Utica region to build one (see today’s lead story), the fact that Exxon is looking is driving leftist environmental kooks bonkers. They hate the Shell cracker going up in Beaver County, and they want to ensure there are no other such plants built anywhere in the region–or at least in Pennsylvania. The eco-leftists have bullied Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto to join their cause, who recently stated in a speech, “I oppose any additional petrochemical companies coming to western Pennsylvania.” The president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council has responded to Peduto’s inane comments, exposing him for the dunce he is.
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Exxon Mobil Sniffing Around SWPA to Build Second Cracker Plant

Leave it to ace reporter Paul Gough from the Pittsburgh Business Times to unearth some earth-shattering news–that ExxonMobil is actively looking at locations in Beaver County, Pennsylvania to potentially build a second multi-billion dollar cracker plant. Shell is already well along in building the region’s first ethane cracker–in Monaca (Beaver County). Will lightning strike twice for the good citizens of Beaver County? Maybe!
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Big Green Groups Retract Opposition to PTT Ohio Cracker Air Permit

The Sierra Club, along with some lesser-known but equally radical enviro groups, filed a court challenge to an air quality permit granted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker plant project in Belmont County, OH back in January (see Radical Green Groups Appeal Ohio Cracker Plant Air Permit). Yesterday those same groups agreed to retract their objection to the permit. Wait, did Big Green just get the natgas old-time religion?
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A Tour of Shell’s Massive Ethane Cracker Plant in SWPA

Although we haven’t (yet) had the pleasure of a tour at the massive Shell ethane cracker plant complex in Beaver County, PA (near Pittsburgh), we’ve spoken to others who have. Universally they say it is a marvel to behold. The world’s second largest crane, dubbed “the Mother of All Cranes” is on site, along with about 100 other cranes (no lie, at least 100 cranes). The site is teeming with thousands (yes thousands) of construction workers–some 5,000 right now, and will reach 6,000 by year’s end. But we’ve turned a corner. According to officials, most of the large structures have now been built and the work is shifting to connect them all. Come along with us for a video tour of the facility.
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NETL Makes Case in Congress for Big Appalachian NGL Storage Hub

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) recently pulled together a report (“findings”) that were circulated to Congress, making the case for a large-scale natural gas liquids (NGL) storage and trading hub in the Marcellus/Utica region. No doubt this report was a response to moves by the radical left to prevent such a hub from receiving any kind of federal loan guarantees.
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PBS Goes to Scotland, Discovers Shale/Plastics Aren’t Bad After All

PBS reporter Reid Frazier should enjoy what is likely to be his one and only trip to Europe on the StateImpact Pennsylvania company dime. He’s gone there to follow Marcellus molecules exported from Pennsylvania, to see how they’re used. Frazier’s first stop is Scotland where they use our ethane to create plastics. Frazier’s report is actually (shock warning, please sit down) pretty fair and balanced–even complimentary of the Marcellus Shale and the plastics industry! Frazier’s overlords inside the William Penn Foundation (big financial backers of StateImpact) are NOT going to be happy with his reports if they continue like this one.
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What Happens to Most Currently Produced Marcellus/Utica Ethane?

We’ve mentioned this in passing in a few articles in the past, but thought it might be good dedicate an entire post to it. What happens, currently, with the prodigious amounts of ethane produced in the Marcellus/Utica? Ethane, as you may know, is one of the natural gas liquids (NGL) hydrocarbons that comes out of the ground along with methane. Methane is CH4, ethane is C2H6. Next to methane, ethane is the most produced hydrocarbon in the M-U. How much gets produced, and what happens to all that ethane?
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Enterprise Looks to Expand ATEX Ethane Pipeline to Gulf Coast

ATEX route (click for larger version)

The Appalachia-to-Texas Express (ATEX) ethane pipeline was completed and began to flow 125,000 barrels per day of Marcellus/Utica ethane to the Gulf Coast in 2013. Enterprise Products Partners, the builder and operator of the pipeline, is now considering upgrades that will expand capacity along the pipeline another 50,000 barrels per day.
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President Trump Visits Shell Cracker Plant Near Pittsburgh

Trump speech at Monaca, PA (credit: Philadelphia Inquirer)

President Trump visited the Shell ethane cracker plant site yesterday in Monaca, PA, along with Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Trump was greeted by a crowd of some 5,000 people, many (most?) of them workers at the site–union members. When was the last time you heard about 5,000 union members attending a rally for a Democrat?! But we digress. Trump toured the facility and delivered a rousing hour-plus speech to those gathered. There is no mistaking the fact that Donald Trump is a big supporter of the oil and gas and petrochemical industries.
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