ExxonMobil Considers Philadelphia Area for Ethane Cracker Plant

MDN previously reported on the rumor that ExxonMobil is sniffing around southwestern Pennsylvania looking for a site to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant (see Exxon Mobil Sniffing Around SWPA to Build Second Cracker Plant). We then told you Exxon is not only looking in Beaver County (where Shell is building it’s cracker) but also in nearby Washington and Greene counties too (see Exxon Widens Search to Build SWPA Cracker Plant to Other Counties). But what’s this? We now read about another rumor–that Exxon is also considering southeast PA, the Philadelphia area!
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WV Commerce Secretary Says His State *Will* Get a Cracker Plant

It seems like MDN has reported on the possibility that an ethane cracker plant would get built somewhere in West Virginia forever–at least back to 2013 when then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin went to Europe looking for a cracker (see Did Gov Tomblin Find a European Investor for a WV Cracker Plant?). For a while it seemed there was a legit cracker project heading to Wood County, in the Parkersburg area, from Odebrecht/Braskem (see WV Announces Brazilian Company to Build Ethane Cracker Complex). That plan eventually petered out. But WV has not given up hope. In a visit to Jackson County on Wednesday, WV Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch said he believes a cracker plant will come to the Mountain State. When?
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SWPA County Political Leaders Voice Support for Petchem, Shale

In a speech delivered October 31 to the P4 Climate Action Summit in downtown Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto declared his hatred for the petrochemical industry. He doesn’t want any more Shell crackers junking up his regional backyard. The highly negative reaction to Peduto’s idiotic (and pandering) remarks was swift. What petchem company wants to build in a region where the mayor of its largest city is trash talking the industry? In a bid to counter Peduto’s economically damaging remarks, some 20 county officials from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland counties issued a joint statement on Wednesday to show their support for the petrochemical and shale industries in the region.
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Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID

Credit: WTOV (click for larger version)

It’s that time of year again, when we hear rumors that PTT Global Chemical will make a final investment decision (FID) about their $7.5 billion ethane cracker project planned for Dilles Bottom in Belmont County, OH. The decision is always “coming soon.” Hopefully. Maybe. Any day now. But maybe not until next year. Can you tell we’ve grown weary of the rumors? This time it might (underscore MIGHT) be different. This time it’s not rumor but some action that caught our interest. Steubenville, Ohio TV station WTOV has video of dirt being pushed around at the site. Which we take to be a good omen.
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Exxon Widens Search to Build SWPA Cracker Plant to Other Counties

Pittsburgh Business Times ace reporter Paul Gough has done it again–breaking big news related to ExxonMobil and their very active search to locate a site in the Pittsburgh region to build a gigantic ethane cracker plant. This time Paul’s sources are telling him Exxon has widened their search. A few weeks ago we told you Exxon was looking for potential locations in Beaver County, PA, near where Shell is building their $8 billion cracker plant (see Exxon Mobil Sniffing Around SWPA to Build Second Cracker Plant). Paul learned the search has widened to at least two other southwest PA counties.
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Making the Case for Crackers, Other Petchem Plants in SWPA

Speaking of cracker plants and the exciting news that ExxonMobil is very actively searching for a location in the Marcellus/Utica region to build one (see today’s lead story), the fact that Exxon is looking is driving leftist environmental kooks bonkers. They hate the Shell cracker going up in Beaver County, and they want to ensure there are no other such plants built anywhere in the region–or at least in Pennsylvania. The eco-leftists have bullied Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto to join their cause, who recently stated in a speech, “I oppose any additional petrochemical companies coming to western Pennsylvania.” The president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council has responded to Peduto’s inane comments, exposing him for the dunce he is.
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Ignored Pipe Caused Philadelphia Refinery Explosion

In June there was a series of explosions and a massive fire at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Refining Complex, the East Coast’s oldest and largest oil refinery (see Massive Explosion, Fire at Philadelphia Refinery). It took fire fighters a full day to extinguish the blaze. The refinery had already been through bankruptcy once. The fire caused it to close down and layoff over 1,000 workers (see Philly Refinery to Close Following Massive Fire – 1,020 Jobs Lost). We now have a good idea of what caused the initial problem: An elbow pipe that had not been inspected in almost 45 years had become paper-thin.
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Exxon Mobil Sniffing Around SWPA to Build Second Cracker Plant

Leave it to ace reporter Paul Gough from the Pittsburgh Business Times to unearth some earth-shattering news–that ExxonMobil is actively looking at locations in Beaver County, Pennsylvania to potentially build a second multi-billion dollar cracker plant. Shell is already well along in building the region’s first ethane cracker–in Monaca (Beaver County). Will lightning strike twice for the good citizens of Beaver County? Maybe!
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HB 1100 Would Bring Cracker-Type Investment to Northeast PA

In April, Pennsylvania State Rep. Mike Turzai, Speaker of the House, and a group of conservative Republicans, announced a plan for the future of PA (see PA Republicans Launch “Energize PA” to Counter Wolf’s “Restore PA”). Called Energize PA, Turzai’s plan, as codified in eight bills he and others introduced, would “make it easier for companies to get environmental permits, encourage development on abandoned industrial sites, and make it cheaper to run natural gas lines to businesses.” One of the eight bills is House Bill (HB) 1100, a bill offering a tax incentive, a reduction in taxes, IF a company builds a new petrochemical plant in the state–particularly in the northeast “dry gas” area of the state.
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Williams Processing & Fractionation Assets in the Marcellus/Utica

Our friends at RBN Energy launched a new mini-series of blog posts delving into Marcellus/Utica gas processing and fractionation back in August. The first post in the series dealt with an overview of processing and fractionation in the wet gas region–meaning southwest PA, eastern OH, and the northern panhandle of WV (see Overview of Gas Processing & Fractionation in M-U Wet Gas Region). The series continued in September with a look at the major assets owned by MarkWest in the M-U (see MarkWest Continues to Expand NGL Infrastructure in the Wet M-U). And now, in a third installment, RBN takes a look at the mighty Williams and their M-U assets.
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Big Green Groups Retract Opposition to PTT Ohio Cracker Air Permit

The Sierra Club, along with some lesser-known but equally radical enviro groups, filed a court challenge to an air quality permit granted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker plant project in Belmont County, OH back in January (see Radical Green Groups Appeal Ohio Cracker Plant Air Permit). Yesterday those same groups agreed to retract their objection to the permit. Wait, did Big Green just get the natgas old-time religion?
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A Tour of Shell’s Massive Ethane Cracker Plant in SWPA

Although we haven’t (yet) had the pleasure of a tour at the massive Shell ethane cracker plant complex in Beaver County, PA (near Pittsburgh), we’ve spoken to others who have. Universally they say it is a marvel to behold. The world’s second largest crane, dubbed “the Mother of All Cranes” is on site, along with about 100 other cranes (no lie, at least 100 cranes). The site is teeming with thousands (yes thousands) of construction workers–some 5,000 right now, and will reach 6,000 by year’s end. But we’ve turned a corner. According to officials, most of the large structures have now been built and the work is shifting to connect them all. Come along with us for a video tour of the facility.
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PA House Approves Bill to Lure New Petchem Plant Construction

In April, Pennsylvania State Rep. Mike Turzai, Speaker of the House, and a group of conservative Republicans, announced a plan for the future of PA (see PA Republicans Launch “Energize PA” to Counter Wolf’s “Restore PA”). Called Energize PA, Turzai’s plan, as codified in eight bills he and others introduced would “make it easier for companies to get environmental permits, encourage development on abandoned industrial sites, and make it cheaper to run natural gas lines to businesses.” One of the eight bills already passed and was signed into law. Now a second bill is nearing adoption.
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Work at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook Causes Range to Tweak NGL Forecast

Sunoco is performing “optimization work” at the Marcus Hook export terminal this month. Marcus Hook is where two (soon to be three) Mariner East Pipelines terminate, hauling NGLs (propane, ethane, butane) from western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio all the way to the Philadelphia area. At Marcus Hook the NGLs get separated and most (not all, but most) get loaded onto ships for export to other countries. Sunoco needs to upgrade a few things to export even more. They’re shutting down Marcus Hook this month, and that’s a (temporary) problem for the main shipper sending NGLs to the facility–Range Resources.
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MarkWest Continues to Expand NGL Infrastructure in the Wet M-U

Our friends at RBN Energy recently launched a new mini-series of blog posts delving into Marcellus/Utica gas processing and fractionation in the wet gas region–meaning southwest PA, eastern OH, and the northern panhandle of WV. We previously brought you part 1 of that series (see Overview of Gas Processing & Fractionation in M-U Wet Gas Region). Today we have part 2, which takes a close look at MPLX (i.e. MarkWest Energy) and the key role their processing plants play in allowing NGL production in the M-U to continue growing.
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Will New GTL Plant in Sarnia, Canada Use M-U Molecules?

click for larger version

Here’s some exciting news. A Canadian-based company, Ainsworth Energy, is planning to build a C$1.9 billion (US$1.4 billion) gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Sarnia, Ontario. The plant will convert natgas into methanol, then convert the methanol into gasoline. Since Marcellus/Utica molecules flow all the way to Sarnia via the NEXUS and Rover pipelines, we think there’s a good chance our gas will help feed this plant.
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