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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Trump Takes Credit for Shell Cracker Plant – Media Blows a Gasket

Democrats and the media (one and the same) are truly a conflicted, schizophrenic bunch. Both national and local Democrats who pretend to be unbiased journalists (what a joke) couldn’t wait to blast out headlines from yesterday’s visit by President Trump to Monaca, PA that Trump is falsely “taking credit” for the Shell ethane cracker, a plant that began life–at least planning stages–during the reign of their Lord and Savior Barack Hussein Obama. Yet in the next breath they write that this plant Trump is taking credit for will produce eeeeevil plastic that’s dooming all life on Mom Earth to extinction. They want credit for the plant, yet they don’t want the plant. What’s a lib Dem to do?
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PTT Buying Homes Near Proposed Cracker Plant in Belmont County

PTT Global Chemical continues to behave is if it’s going forward with building a $7.5 billion ethane cracker in Dilles Bottom (Belmont County), Ohio. The latest evidence? The company is actively buying up homes close to the proposed site. Over the past two months the company has snapped up six homes and is in discussions right now with others.
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Braskem Gives Up on WV Cracker – Parkersburg Site for Sale

A sad end to the hope that Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in Latin America (headquartered in Brazil), is going to build an ethane cracker in Wood County, WV, near Parkersburg. We hasten to add Braskem leaving doesn’t mean someone else won’t will build a cracker plant there–it just won’t be Braskem. News is leaking that Braskem has put the land they had purchased for a possible cracker up for sale.
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Supplier Fair to Sell Products for OH Cracker Held in…London?

Little by little, piece by piece, the evidence continues to mount that PTT Global Chemical and their partner Daelim Chemical will make a positive final investment decision (FID) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH. On Monday we told you the State of Ohio is investing another $30 million in the project, even though the project is not officially a done deal, yet (see Ohio Pays Another $30M to Kickstart PTT Belmont Cracker Project). Our latest bit of evidence that the Belmont cracker will indeed get built: PTT is holding a “supplier fair” for companies to win contracts to provide various supplies and equipment for the facility. Oh, and the supplier fair is being held in London–as in the United Kingdom!
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Steubenville, OH in the Catbird Seat – Between Two Crackers

Location of Steubenville, halfway between Monaca, PA and Dilles Bottom, OH

Several weeks ago MDN editor Jim Willis attended the 2019 Northeast Petrochemical Conference and Expo in Pittsburgh. A major reason for attending such events is to connect with others in the industry. On this trip, Jim had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Bryce Custer, business director for global commercial real estate company NAI’s Ohio River Corridor division. Bryce’s job is to find real estate for companies in places where maybe real estate isn’t (yet) for sale. Companies like manufacturers who want to locate near the Shell and (soon, hopefully) PTT ethane cracker facilities–looking to locate in the Ohio River Valley. Bryce helps them find suitable locations. Bryce recently spoke to the Steubenville Revitalization Group and had an interesting observation about Steubenville’s geography.
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Ohio Pays Another $30M to Kickstart PTT Belmont Cracker Project

We’ve found one more bit of evidence that Ohio officials believe, rather strongly, that PTT Global Chemical will move forward with building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County. JobsOhio, a private non-profit with a board appointed by the Ohio governor, gets most of its operating revenue from taxes on liquor sales in Ohio. JobsOhio previously spent $17 million in 2016 to clean up the site where PTT says they may/maybe/might build a cracker plant (see JobsOhio Picks Up the $17M Cost for Prepping OH Cracker Site). JobsOhio has just committed another $30 million for “site preparation work” for the cracker. One news source reports this is “the largest grant ever awarded in the Buckeye State” (by JobsOhio).
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Shell’s Falcon Ethane Pipe – Building a Pipeline the Right Way

The Falcon ethane pipeline being built by Shell in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio is unique in many ways. Falcon is a 97-mile, two-legged pipeline system to carry ethane to the mighty Shell cracker plant now under construction in Beaver County, PA (near Pittsburgh). We spotted an article about the pipeline and its construction. According to a local conservation office in Beaver County, pipeline construction “hasn’t even affected us [wildlife] a bit,” thanks to careful planning by Shell. A pipeline everybody loves? Is that even possible?!
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Ohio Says PTT Cracker Will Get Built – Bechtel Confirms EPC Contract

Last Thursday and Friday, MDN attended the Northeast Petrochemical Conference & Exhibition in Pittsburgh. There were a number of interesting stories coming from the event that we will chronicle this week. However, there was one bit of breaking news from the event: Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals Senior Project Manager of Pennsylvania Chemicals, Paul Marsden, made official what we previously shared as a rumor–that Bechtel has been selected as the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor to build the PTT cracker plant complex, when and if a positive final investment decision is made. According to a number of sources, that decision will get made this year.
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Anti Tries to Scare Maryland County re NGL Storage Hub Impacts

Ann Bristow, Professor Emeritus at Frostburg State University and resident of Garrett County, is once again trying to foment irrational fear of the fossil fuel industry. Bristow was one of the “experts” that kept fracking out of Garrett County (one of two Maryland counties with commercial shale deposits), harming its citizens economically. Now she’s trying to whip up opposition to a regional ethane storage hub that won’t even be located in Maryland.
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Marcellus/Utica Ethane Supplies at Tipping Point – Action Needed NOW

Last week Shaledirectories.com and TopLine Analytics hosted the one-day Appalachian Storage Hub Conference in Canonsburg, PA. Charles Zelek, a senior economist with the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy was one of the speakers. According to our friends at Kallanish Energy who attended, Zelek “implored” the audience to establish an ethane storage hub in the Tri-State area. Like now, before it’s too late.
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Rumor: PTT Ohio Cracker Project FID Likely Coming in September

Every now and again we traffic in rumors here on MDN, but we do so rarely and only when we trust the source of the rumor. In mid-March we brought you juicy tidbits from a highly trusted source about the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker project in Belmont County, OH, a rumor about why a final investment decision (FID) to proceed has been delayed (see Rumor: Holdup in PTT OH Cracker Final Decision Due to Labor Rate). Our source is back, with more juicy updates, including a bombshell…
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AECOM Wins Contract to Service Shell Cracker Plant

Bechtel, a huge multi-national engineering firm, is the company building the mighty Shell ethane cracker in Monaca, PA. Shell won’t divulge when they think the cracker will be up and running (still a year or more away), but in what we consider a very good sign that the cracker will be operating sooner rather than later, Shell has just awarded another huge multi-national engineering firm, AECOM, the contract to maintain all the machinery at the cracker plant once it’s built and running.
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Pittsburgh Panel Discusses Importance of NGL Storage

Seems like every few months there’s a meeting or conference somewhere in the Marcellus/Utica region that addresses the topic of ethane storage. Another such a meeting was held in Pittsburgh yesterday. The meeting was preparatory for the upcoming Northeast Petrochemical Exhibition and Conference to be held June 20-21 in Pittsburgh (must attend event!). As with other meetings like it, several NGL storage options were discussed.
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Truth Told @ Marcellus and Manufacturing Conference in Morgantown

Natural gas was front and center at the ninth annual Marcellus and Manufacturing Development Conference, an event of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, held yesterday in Morgantown, WV. Among the speakers was Steve Winberg, U.S. Department of Energy assistant secretary for fossil energy. He mouthed strong support for the Appalachian Basin ethane “hub” saying the region can easily support up to five ethane crackers, and that could lead to $35 billion of investment and 100,000 jobs in the region.
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Energy Transfer Opens Office in China to Push LNG, Ethane

Chinese for “good news”

Energy Transfer issued an exciting announcement yesterday to say they are expanding their presence in China “to meet growing demand for ethane and liquid natural gas products” by opening an ET office in Beijing. It will be ET’s first non-U.S. office–can you believe that?! Although ET doesn’t mention the Marcellus/Utica in the announcement, we think there’s a connection.
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