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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Marathon Considers Building NGL Storage Hub in Harrison County, OH

Some major news coming from yesterday’s Utica Midstream conference held in North Canton, Ohio. A rep from Marathon Petroleum (which is based in Ohio) told conference attendees his company is contemplating building an underground NGL storage facility in Harrison County, OH–to store ethane, butane and propane.
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Rumor: Holdup in PTT OH Cracker Final Decision Due to Labor Rate

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. We have such a rumor to share, from a source we trust implicitly. We’ve been carping for over a year that PTT Global Chemical has repeatedly violated our deep well of patience by hinting that a “final investment decision” (FID) is “coming soon” for their $7-$10 billion ethane cracker complex in Belmont County, OH (see Still No Ohio Cracker Announcement, Preparations Continue). We now know why the FID is tardy.
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Tree Clearing Begins at PTT Cracker Site in Belmont County, OH

As we keep pointing out, PTT Global Chemical, the company that says they want to build a $6 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH, keeps hinting that a “final investment decision” (FID) will come soon. Any day now. Just around the corner. They’ve been saying it for nearly two years.
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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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