Still No Ohio Cracker Announcement, Preparations Continue

PTT Global Chemical has made and broken so many promises about the timing of a decision to build a $6 (lately cited as $10) billion ethane cracker in Belmont County, we’ve lost track of the number broken deadlines. Don’t get us wrong. We still hope and believe the project will happen, but we’ve grown weary of the delays in an announcement. And we don’t even live in the region!
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MDN Featured in PublicSource Story re Shell’s PA Cracker

More than a month ago MDN editor Jim Willis was contacted by PublicSource, an independent non-profit news organization based in Pittsburgh. A reporter wanted to know if Jim would grant an interview as part of a story he was doing on the Shell cracker, pipelines and the petchem industry in southwest Pennsylvania. Jim said yes.
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Ohio Univ Gets $1M Grant to Figure out Better Way to Crack Ethane

Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jason Trembly

An Ohio University professor has landed himself (and his research associates) $1 million in grant money to study a better way to turn raw natural gas with lots of ethane in it, directly into ethylene (raw plastics), bypassing the need to separate the raw stream into methane and ethane, and bypassing the need for a huge cracker plant to crack the ethane into ethylene.
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The Future of Ethane Exports from Marcus Hook, PA

Ethane exports came from nowhere, dead zero, three years ago and took off like gangbusters until mid-last year, in no small part because of Marcellus/Utica ethane exports coming from the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia. But part of the way through last year those exports began to decline–and not because of lack of ethane flowing through the Mariner East pipelines. Nope. They declined due to lack of demand.
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Ambridge Water Authority Changes Tune re Shell Ethane Pipeline

Shell has calmed the troubled Ambridge waters–that is, the Ambridge Water Authority waters. Shell hit a snag with plans to build its Falcon Ethane Pipeline when the Ambridge Water Authority claimed construction of the pipeline under several streams feeding the Ambridge reservoir would endanger the drinking water for 30,000 people (see Ambridge Water Authority Strongly Opposes Shell Ethane Pipe Route).
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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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Petrochemicals & Shale – Joined at the Hip (IEA Report)

On numerous occasions we’ve pointed out the lunacy of the “keep it in the ground” gang–those who believe we should end the use of all fossil fuels as soon as possible. Why can’t we do it? For many reasons. Here’s just one: petrochemicals. Did you know that all sorts of products you use every day–things like plastics, fertilizers, packaging, clothing, digital devices, medical equipment, detergents and tires–come from oil and gas? Without oil and gas, we’d quickly descend back into the Stone Age, living short, brutish lives. That point was driven home in a new report titled “The Future of Petrochemicals” (full copy below), part of an International Energy Agency (IEA) series that shines a light on “blind spots” in the global energy system.
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30-Story Quench Tower Set in Place for Shell Ethane Cracker

On Sunday, what will be the tallest and heaviest piece of equipment that’s part of the mighty $6 billion Shell ethane cracker in Monaca (Beaver County), PA was hoisted into place. It’s called a “quench tower” and it looks like a humongous silo. It’s 300-feet high, which translates into about 30 stories. One of the world’s largest cranes had to be reserved a year ago in order to do the lifting. It took all day, but by 3:30 pm, the quench tower was standing upright–yet another monument to the power of the Marcellus Shale.
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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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WV Leaders Discuss “Downstream” NatGas Development

Some 200 business and government leaders in West Virginia attended the state’s Economic Outlook Conference in Charleston this past Wednesday. A key focus of the event was a panel discussion on the topic of “downstream” natural gas development–meaning ethane cracker plants and manufacturing plants to take advantage of the coming flood of cheap plastics from cracker plants. The speakers spoke of urgency, to prevent a generational opportunity from slipping away.
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