PennFuture Wages War Against Fossil Fuel Jobs in PA re HB 1100

Last week we brought you the rumor that a bill to allow incentives for petrochemical plants willing to build new facilities in Pennsylvania (generating hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of investment in the state) appears to be back on after the bill was vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this year (see Bill to Bring Cracker-Type Investment to Northeast PA Resurrected). The radicals at PennFuture, a profoundly partisan/leftist organization fueled with Big Green donations, is raising the alarm that House Bill (HB) 1100 is back on and that Wolf is ready to sign a revised version.
Continue reading

Bill to Bring Cracker-Type Investment to Northeast PA Resurrected

In April 2019, Pennsylvania State Rep. Mike Turzai, Speaker of the House (who has since resigned and left), along with 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, the plan as codified in eight bills 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.
Continue reading

Trump DOE Report Backs Cracker, Petchem Investment in Marc/Utica

In April 2019 President Trump issued an Executive Order instructing the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) to assess opportunities to promote growth in the Appalachian region. Yesterday a report was released by DOE doing just that. The 75-page report is titled “The Appalachian Energy and Petrochemical Renaissance: An Examination of Economic Progress and Opportunities” (full copy below). The report not only outlines petchem opportunities in the Marcellus/Utica, it makes recommendations to put those opportunities on steroids.
Continue reading

3,000 Workers Back on the Job at Shell Cracker Construction Site

Shell slowly but surely continues to ramp back up the work being done at its mighty ethane cracker construction site in Beaver County, PA following a shutdown of activity due to the coronavirus pandemic. When the COVID-19 coronavirus hit in March, Shell stopped all work on the cracker plant, sending nearly 8,000 workers home in mid-March for what was thought to be “a few days to a few weeks” (see Shell Shuts Down SWPA Cracker Plant Construction re COVID-1). In early May Shell began bringing back roughly 300 workers each week. The total number of workers back on the job now stands at 3,000.
Continue reading

Leftwing Academic Hacks Trash Talk PA, OH Cracker Plants

A group of leftwing radical professors (all of the Democrats) from seven universities in Ohio and Pennsylvania have colluded to write a letter to the governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The letter trash talks the billions of dollars in economic impact and tens of thousands of jobs ethane cracker plants and the petrochemical industry will have in the region. The leftist gang of seven poo-poos those estimates and says the proposed PTT cracker is too “risky” to approve. How do they figure?
Continue reading

PTT Responds to “Indefinite Hold” on OH Cracker Decision

PTT Global Chemical, the huge Thailand-based petrochemical company looking to build a world-class ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH, has botched its messaging about when it will make a final investment decision (FID) about moving forward with the project. The latest FID was supposed to be now, by the end of June this year (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). Then the company said the pandemic would delay the FID, without giving any kind of time frame. We referred to that as an “indefinite” delay (see PTT Postpones Ohio Cracker Final Investment Decision Indefinitely). PTT disputes that characterization. Did we get it wrong by labeling the FID delay as “indefinite”?
Continue reading

PTT Further Delays Ohio Cracker Decision to 2021

In late April PTT Global Chemical, the huge Thailand-based petrochemical company looking to build a world-class ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH, announced it would not make a final investment decision (FID) about whether to build the Ohio cracker by mid-2020 (see PTT Postpones Ohio Cracker Final Investment Decision Indefinitely). The company would not give a new timeline, which led us to conclude this is an indefinite delay.
Continue reading

Workers Begin Returning to Shell Cracker Plant Construction Site

Add another 300 workers returned to work at the mighty Shell ethane cracker construction site in Beaver County, PA this past Monday. This follows the lifting of a ban on construction activities by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. With the extra 300 workers back on the job, some 800 workers are now active at the site, just 10% of the 8,000 working on-site prior to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Continue reading

PTT Postpones Ohio Cracker Final Investment Decision Indefinitely

Last Friday PTT Global Chemical, the huge Thailand-based petrochemical company looking to build a world-class ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH, issued an update for the project. In February PTT’s CEO signaled that a final investment decision (FID) on whether (or not) to build the project would happen by “mid-year 2020” (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). That is no longer the case, according to the latest company update.
Continue reading

Mariner East Pipe, Shell Cracker Can Restart Construction May 1

Great news! The Mariner East 2 pipeline project along with Shell’s mighty ethane cracker project will once again be able to restart their stopped construction. At least according to our reading of the law. As you may know the Pennsylvania Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has been “reviewing” waiver requests to allow all work to resume for both ME2 and the cracker project (see PA DCED First Grants Then Rescinds ME2 Pipe Construction Waivers and Shell Files for Waiver to Restart PA Cracker Work w/Fewer Workers).
Continue reading

Philly Petchem Workers Isolate 28 Days to Make Virus Equipment

Marcellus/Utica propane flows from eastern Ohio and southwestern Pennsylvania all the way to southeastern PA via the Mariner East pipelines (ME1 and ME2). A petrochemical facility operated by Braskem America in Marcus Hook (near Philadelphia) processes some of that propane, turning it into polypropylene–the raw plastic used to make N95 masks, hospital gowns, and sanitary wipes–items in critical demand right now to protect health care workers against the COVID-19 coronavirus. This will bring tears to your eyes as it did ours: Some 40 workers at the Braskem plant voluntarily decided to stay at the plant for 28 days straight–working 12-hour shifts–not leaving once during that time so they could be sure of no COVID contamination while they worked to make polypropylene that in turn would be used to make personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. We salute them one and all!
Continue reading

PA Petrochemical Growth May Happen Due to…Coronavirus?

Quick: What’s the raw material used to make respirator masks, gloves, face shields and other high-demand products used by the medical community to combat the coronavirus pandemic? Correct, it’s plastics. And what is the primary feedstock used to make the plastic that in turn makes all of those live-saving products? Correct again: natural gas and natural gas liquids. Or another word for it, petrochemicals. The “Think About Energy” seminar series, usually held in-person, hosted its first virtual event yesterday. Four fantastic speakers spoke about how the coronavirus pandemic, among other things, may drive the expansion of petrochemicals in PA. Expanding the petchem industry in the Keystone State may literally be a life or death issue.
Continue reading

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

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).
Continue reading

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)!
Continue reading