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.
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Shell Pulls Out of Lake Charles LNG Project, Energy Transfer Stays

Is this the beginning of a pullback from LNG project? Scared of the impacts of the coronavirus and the price of oil crashing, Royal Dutch Shell is pulling out of a 50/50 joint venture partnership with Energy Transfer (ET) to build a new LNG export facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In corporate speak, Shell says, “This decision is consistent with the initiatives we announced last week to preserve cash and reinforce the resilience of our business,” and “the time is not right for Shell to invest.” Translation: We’re scared. And who can blame them? All of a sudden there are LNG cargoes sailing the oceans with no place to unload (see LNG Cargoes All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go).
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PA Gov Wolf Vetoes Jobs-Creating Petchem Bill – Blames COVID-19

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf was less than honest when he vetoed House Bill (HB) 1100–a bill that would generate thousands of new jobs and cause money to pour into the PA economy by granting tax breaks (for a limited time) to companies willing to build *brand new* petrochemical plants ($450 million minimum investment) that use natural gas as the feedstock. In vetoing the bill on Friday, Wolf more or less blamed the coronavirus–even though he had promised to veto this bill in February, a month before the pandemic began in U.S. (see Gov Wolf to Veto Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment to NEPA)!
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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.
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New Study Says Petchem Tax Credit Bill Would “Transform” PA

Pennsylvania House Bill (HB) 1100, aimed at attracting new petrochemical investment to the state, was passed by the PA House and Senate earlier this year. The bill provides a tax incentive for companies to build NEW plants in the state that use Marcellus methane gas. HB 1100 was finally delivered to the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf last week (see PA Petchem Bill Delivered to Gov. Wolf – Will He Sign It?). Wolf previously stated (for whatever strange reason) he would veto the bill. Republicans, Democrats, businesses, and labor unions have all pressured Wolf to reconsider and sign the measure into law. Now comes a bit more pressure.
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PA Petchem Bill Delivered to Gov. Wolf – Will He Sign It?

Pennsylvania House Bill (HB) 1100, aimed at attracting new petrochemical investment to the state, was passed by the PA Senate in early February (see PA Senate Tweaks, Passes Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment). HB 1100 provides a tax incentive for companies to build NEW plants in the state that use Marcellus methane gas. Inexplicably PA Gov. Wolf said he would veto the bill when it hits his desk (see Gov Wolf to Veto Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment to NEPA). The Republican-controlled legislature held back from sending the bill to Wolf and for the past six weeks Republicans, Democrats, business and labor groups have conducted a high-pressure campaign to either force Wolf to sign it, or force Democrats in the legislature who voted for the bill the first time to vote for a veto override.
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Shell Shuts Down SWPA Cracker Plant Construction re COVID-19

Yesterday MDN told you that Shell had not (yet) closed down construction of the mighty ethane cracker plant they are building in Beaver County, PA (see COVID-19: Shell Keeps SWPA Cracker Construction Site Open). After a confirmed case of COVID-19 coronavirus in the county, the Board of Commissioners asked Shell yesterday to shut down the site for now. Within a few hours Shell did just that, sending home some 8,000 workers. The work stoppage will last from a few days to a few weeks.
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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.
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PA Petchem Bill has Veto-Proof Majority – Wolf, Antis in Trouble

On Monday there were dueling rallies at the Capitol in Harrisburg, PA, for and against a new petrochemical bill, House Bill (HB) 1100, that promises to bring thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars of investment to the Keystone State (see PA Dem Shouts Union Members are “Losers” at Rally for Petchem Bill). HB 1100 provides a tax incentive for companies to build NEW plants in the state that use Marcellus methane gas. HB 1100 passed both the state House and Senate with large majorities of both Republicans and Democrats. Yet PA Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to veto the bill. Sensing they have enough votes to override a veto, both Republicans and Democrats continue to pressure Wolf to sign. Yesterday another rally was held, this one in Wilkes-Barre, to support the bill and further put the political screws to Wolf.
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“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…
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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.
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More Details on Potential Methanol Plant Planned for Northeast PA

Michel Goldschneider, CEO, Elis Energy

We now know who is interested in building a new methanol plant in northeastern Pennsylvania. But it will only get built IF the state is able to adopt a new law granting the operation a tax credit. We’re talking about House Bill (HB) 1100 that was recently passed by large bipartisan majorities in both the PA House and Senate (see PA Senate Tweaks, Passes Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment). Gov. Tom Wolf says he will veto the bill (see Gov Wolf to Veto Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment to NEPA). The company that wants to build the methanol plant says if HB 1100 is not adopted, they will look to build elsewhere.
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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.
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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.”
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Business/Labor Joins Hands, Asks PA Gov Wolf to Sign Petchem Bill

It doesn’t happen often, so when it does, it’s worth noting. Both business (Chamber of Commerce) groups from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, along with labor union groups from both cities, have reached across the aisle to work together in an effort to try and convince Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to sign House Bill (HB) 1100–a bill that would attract new petrochemical investment (and jobs) to the state. Inexplicably Wolf has pledged to veto the bill when it hits his desk (see Gov Wolf to Veto Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment to NEPA).
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$500M Marcellus-Fed Petchem Plant Coming to Clinton County, PA

Clinton County, PA

A new half-billion-dollar petrochemical plant that would convert Marcellus Shale gas into feedstock (chemicals) to be used in agriculture, manufacturing, medicine, and transportation is getting serious in central Pennsylvania. Frontier Natural Resources and KeyState Agri are working on a plan to bring such a plant to western Clinton County, PA.
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