PTT Cracker Project Reaches Tax Agreement with Belmont County, OH

Even amid the coronavirus pandemonium and economic destruction happening everywhere, important oil and gas (and petrochemical) projects continue to make progress. In particular, the PTT Global Chemical plan to build an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH still shows signs of life. In February PTT’s CEO signaled that a final investment decision on whether (or not) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH is coming by “mid-year 2020” (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). While work to prep the site and get it ready is now paused, work behind the scenes continues. Last week Belmont County commissioners, Mead Township trustees and the Shadyside Board of Education approved a new deal on tax payments should the project get built. This is a major milestone.
Continue reading

Will Shell Cracker Construction Delay Affect Ohio Cracker Timing?

Nearly two weeks ago Shell, at the prompting of local officials, shut down construction of the mighty ethane cracker plant the company is building in Beaver County, PA (see Shell Shuts Down SWPA Cracker Plant Construction re COVID-19). How long will construction be stopped? According to a Shell spokesman, “I have no timeline for a return at this time.” What if the work stoppage drags on for months? It could, potentially, have a domino effect on another nearby cracker project–across the river in Belmont County, Ohio.
Continue reading

Shell Ethane Pipe Construction in SWPA Allowed to Restart

Here’s a rum’un (Brit speak meaning “strange” or “odd”) if ever we’ve heard of one. Shell shut down construction activity a week ago at its mighty ethane cracker plant site in Beaver County, PA, sending nearly 8,000 people home (see Shell Shuts Down SWPA Cracker Plant Construction re COVID-19). There are still several hundred people on location to secure things and ensure no mischief is made while the other workers are away. However, work on Shell’s Falcon pipeline project, the pipeline that will feed ethane to the (now quarantined) plant, is allowed to continue as “life-sustaining” work under PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s order closing some businesses but keeping others open.
Continue reading

COVID-19: Shell Keeps SWPA Cracker Construction Site Open

We’d hate to be a big employer right now–like Shell–with all of the COVID-19 coronavirus issues swirling. Shell currently employs some 6,500 construction workers at its Monaca (Beaver County), PA ethane cracker plant site. That’s 6,500 workers coming and going each and every day. Many of them have to get to the job site via a shuttle bus after parking in huge parking lots near the site. Cramped, crowded conditions at a time when the government recommends “social distancing” (who wants to bet that’s the phrase of the year for Merriam-Webster?). Some are criticizing Shell for not shutting down construction. It’s a no-win situation. Shut it down and throw 6,500 people out of work for a month or two or three? Keep working and risk spreading the virus? No good options.
Continue reading

Ohio NGL Storage Permit Expires, Builder Says Project Still Alive

Mountaineer NGL Storage is planning to build an NGL (primarily ethane) storage operation in Monroe County, OH, located just across the river (and border) from West Virginia. Last summer David Hooker, president of Mountaineer and president of the parent company Energy Storage Ventures (located in Denver, Colo.) announced the project had received all necessary permits to begin construction, and that construction “could” begin by the end of March this year (see Mountaineer NGL Storage Says Construction Begins in OH 1Q20). One teeny tiny problem. One of the necessary permits needed for the project expired last week. What’s going on?
Continue reading

“Mammoth” Shell Cracker Currently Employs 7,500 Daily – An Update

Credit: Youngstown Business Journal (click for larger version)

Activity in building the mighty Shell ethane cracker in Monaca, PA (Beaver County) has reached a fevered pitch. Its apex. Its zenith. Currently, there are some 7,500 workers who visit and work at the site on a daily basis. Can you imagine?! That’s like a small town coming and going each and every day. There are some 1,000 workers who work all through the night! We’re still a year or two away from the beginning of operations at the plant, but all of the key structures are now in place and the work has shifted to connecting everything. Here’s an update on this massive, jobs-producing economic bonanza happening in southwestern PA…
Continue reading

Penn State Peddles PIE in the Sky – Takes Swipe at Shell Cracker

Increasingly Penn State is taking swipes at the Marcellus Shale industry that has so richly blessed the state–and has blessed Penn State and its various educational programs. It’s really disappointing. The latest attempt is something called PIE–or political industrial ecology. It’s a made-up academic term that means judging an economic miracle like the Shell cracker through the lens of leftist political dogma. Essentially a Penn State researcher tries to find people who don’t like the cracker and give them “a voice.” Apparently they misplaced their own voice.
Continue reading

PTT Says Work at Future Cracker Site to Temporarily Slow/Stop

Last week MDN told you that PTT Global Chemical’s CEO signalled that a final investment decision (FID) on whether (or not) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH is coming by “mid-year 2020” (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). Here we are a few days later and the company has issued a statement to say activity at the site to push dirt around will soon slow down, perhaps even stop. But don’t worry, that’s NOT a sign (says the company) that they’ve lost interest in the project.
Continue reading

2 New Gas-to-Liquids Plants Coming to Jefferson County, OH

Future site of Orin petchem complex (click for larger version)

A “locally organized industrial development company”–called Orin Holdings–says it will build two state-of-the-art gas-to-liquids plants on a 500-acre parcel in Saline Township in Jefferson County, OH. Orin says (in so many words) this isn’t your father’s old refining complex. This is something brand new and better. “It will operate more cleanly and efficiently than any plant of its kind, utilizing state-of-the-art instrumentation and controls technology to fully comply with today’s stringent environmental and safety requirements.” The plants will be fed by Marcellus and Utica ethane.
Continue reading

PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker

It was April 2015 when PTT Global Chemical, a huge petrochemical company based in Thailand, first announced they would consider building an ethane cracker plant in Ohio (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time PTT has purchased land for the plant and has even been seen moving dirt around at the site (see Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID). We’ve been somewhat critical of PTT over the years, chiding them because they’ve teased a “final investment decision” (FID) is just around the corner. The alluded to dates came and went–and still no FID. (Why do you build me up, buttercup, baby just to let me down, and mess me around?) Here we go again. PTT’s CEO has just announced the company is “on track” to make an FID on the Ohio cracker project “by mid-2020.”
Continue reading

WV Advances Bills to Attract NGL Hub, Cracker Plant, Downstream

The West Virginia House of Delegates Finance Committee approved two bills yesterday that would create two new tax credits. The aim is to boost more development in the natural gas industry in the Mountain State. One bill, House Bill (HB) 4421, is meant to attract a natural gas storage hub and an ethane cracker plant to the state. The other, HB 4019, is meant to attract “downstream” natural gas manufacturing facilities. Both bills now go to the full House for a vote.
Continue reading

PTT Voices Concerns re Plastics; Still No Decision to Build OH Cracker

It amazes us that we now have to defend perhaps the greatest advancement to the longevity of not only humankind but all species on planet earth. That advancement is PLASTICS. Yes, plastics. The invention of plastic and its uses on Mom Earth has made our lives better. Plastics, contrary to the current popular mythology, have extended human and animal life. And yet, even the companies that build giant cracker plants to create raw plastic pellets (for further use in thousands of plastic products) must now bow down before environmental crackpots to declare their concern (even dislike) of the very thing they produce: plastic. It’s bizarre.
Continue reading

Ohio Invests Another $20M in PTT Cracker Site, $70M Total So Far

We’re now a couple of months shy of the fifth anniversary for when PTT first announced they would consider building an ethane cracker plant in Ohio (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time, PTT has purchased land for the plant, and last fall was seen moving dirt around at the property (see Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID). Even without a final investment decision (FID) to build, the State of Ohio continues to invest money in the project–another $20 million last week.
Continue reading

Mariner West Seeks to Move Marcellus Ethane to Michigan & Canada

click for larger version

You always hear about Energy Transfer’s Mariner East pipeline projects (ME1, ME2, and ME2X), but you hardly ever hear about Mariner West. Did you know that ET’s Mariner West hauls ethane from shale processing and fractionation areas near Houston, Pennsylvania to Marysville, Michigan and all the way to Sarnia, Ontario? That’s right. They can flow up to 50,000 barrels a day!
Continue reading

Big Green Tries to Whip Up Opposition to PTT Ohio Cracker

Big Green is doing its best to stir up opposition to PTT Global Chemical’s proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio. Big Green is also trying to hide its involvement and pass itself off as organic, local community opposition. Not true. Last week the same so-called community organizer addressed an anti meeting at a local church and organized a “protest” a few days later.
Continue reading

WV Bill Would Establish Fund to Kick-start NGL Hub, Reassure China

The West Virginia legislature kicked off its 2020 60-day session yesterday with a bang–at least for the shale energy industry. House Speaker Roger Hanshaw introduced House Bill 4001, aimed at reassuring China it’s OK to begin investing some of that $84 billion they promised to invest in WV’s shale and downstream sector. The bill also would help fund the Appalachian NGL Storage and Trading Hub project and other big petrochemical projects (maybe even a cracker plant!).
Continue reading